United Auto Workers officials in Flint, Michigan, representing workers at the General Motors truck assembly plant in Flint, Michigan, have taken to social media to warn of potential parts shortages at the General Motors truck assembly plant created by the medical emergency in China created by the outbreak of coronavirus.
UAW Local 598, in a message to members in a social media post, said the threat of parts shortages is growing and also threatens production at key GM assembly plants in Arlington, Texas, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.
“We had a much more in-depth report from the materials department about the impact on our parts supply. They have given up on their everything is fine message. In February, we have parts that potentially will be impacted. They are both decal applications so we will build shy if we run out,” the union report said this week.
“However, if this continues in March, there will be more significant parts impacted. The first being trailer harnesses. The company is still trying to develop a process to run shy and still pass PTT and DVT.
“The company has leased two cargo planes and also been able to get the government to release two of them. They are hoping to improve shipments. The company has set Flint has a priority plant and will sacrifice volume at Arlington and Fort Wayne to keep us running,” the post said.
The Flint plant builds Chevrolet and GMC heavy-duty pickup trucks and GM’s management recently moved the plant to maximum overtime in a bid to keep up with consumer demand for the vehicles and to keep pace with competition from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.’s Ram brand and popular heavy-duty pickup trucks from the Ford Motor Co.
GM’s assembly plant in Arlington builds full-sized sport utility vehicles, while the GM assembly plant in Fort Wayne produces full-sized Chevrolet and GMC pickup trucks.
Neither FCA nor Ford has indicated whether they are facing potential parts shortages of key parts from China that could curtail production.
Automakers have experienced shortages of key parts, in the past, because on unexpected disruptions from fires and floods to the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. The coronavirus outbreak, however, appears to be a unique challenge because it’s uncertain scope and the length of time of the disruption to China’s economy.