Ford, GM hit hardest by chip crisis as Super Duty trucks pile up in KY

As Kentucky Derby fans traveled along I-71 to and from Churchill Downs over the weekend, it

As Kentucky Derby fans traveled along I-71 to and from Churchill Downs over the weekend, it would’ve been hard not to notice while driving through Sparta the thousands of Super Duty pickup trucks parked in rows.

This illustrates the multibillion-dollar impact of the ongoing global semiconductor shortage on the auto industry, specifically Ford Motor Co. Super Duty trucks built by UAW members at the nearby Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville.

These days, they’re built and parked awaiting parts.

Thousands of pickup trucks can be seen from I-71 in Sparta, Kentucky,  on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Ford Motor Co. had approximately 22,000 vehicles at the end of March primarily in North America awaiting installation of chip related components,.

“Ford will build and hold the vehicles for a number of weeks, then ship the vehicles to dealers once the modules are available and comprehensive quality checks are complete,” Kelli Felker, Ford global manufacturing and labor communications manager, told the Free Press in response to questions about the Kentucky stockpile on Monday.

When America’s bestselling F-Series is parked, Wall Street pays attention.

John Lawler, Ford chief financial officer, told industry analysts after first-quarter earnings April 28 that the company had approximately 22,000 vehicles parked and awaiting parts at the end of March.

And the numbers continue to grow.

“The semiconductor shortage and the impact to production will get worse before it gets better,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said after earnings posted. 

Thousands of pickup trucks can be seen from I-71 in Sparta, Kentucky on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Ford Motor Co. had approximately 22,000 vehicles at the end of March primarily in North America awaiting installation of chip related components. Ford builds Super Duty trucks made by UAW members at the Kentucky Truck Assembly Plant in Louisville.

In fact, Intel Corp. CEO Pat Gelsinger predicted the problem will plague the auto industry “for a few more years,” Bloomberg reported Monday.

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The microchip nightmare crippling auto factories globally is hitting Ford Motor Co.’s operations the hardest globally in terms of actual vehicles taken out of the production schedule, according to AutoForecast Solutions in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. The company calculates factory-by-factory company announcements, shift production and work schedules in the U.S., Asia and Europe.

Thousands of pickup trucks can be seen from I-71 in Sparta, Kentucky on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Ford Motor Co. had approximately 22,000 vehicles at the end of March primarily in North America awaiting installation of chip related components. Ford builds Super Duty trucks made by UAW members at the Kentucky Truck Assembly Plant in Louisville.

So far, that lost vehicle production globally this year has been projected to be:

  • Ford, 362,663 fewer vehicles
  • General Motors, 326,651
  • Renault Nissan Mitsubishi, 284,948
  • Volkswagen, 207,521
  • Stellantis, 202,486
  • Toyota, 113,555
  • Honda, 82,482

Automakers impacted to a lesser extent include BMW, Hyundai, Daimler and Tesla. These figures do not include joint ventures between the Detroit Three and their partners in China, Russia, Turkey and elsewhere. The GM numbers include its subsidiary GM Korea.

While vehicle production could be made up toward the end of the year, it is less likely with every month that passes.

GM CEO Mary Barra waits to greet Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, during a visit to the GM Technical Learning University located on the GM Tech Center Campus in Warren on Sept. 2, 2020.

Meanwhile, GM is the hardest hit automaker in North America, based on current projections for the year:

  • GM,  277,030 vehicles
  • Ford, 234,964
  • Stellantis, 162,087 
  • Subaru, 45,272 
  • Honda, 42,951
  • Renault Nissan Mitsubishi,  41,928
  • VW,  36,429
  • Toyota, 23,670
  • Tesla,  6,418 

Some reduction was seen by Mazda and Hyundai, too.

GM is scheduled to release earnings Wednesday. Stellantis said it will reveal its shipments and revenues the same day.