As severe weather continues to hammer the Midwest and northeast Tuesday, General Motors, Nissan, Toyota, Ford and other automakers temporarily shuttered factories.
GM halted production at its highly profitable pickup plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, along with three other plants affecting about 4,800 workers.
The weather is hitting the auto industry hard as various carmakers must stop production due to arctic temperatures, snow and ice that are making travel dangerous for workers and roads impassible for suppliers to deliver parts. In some cases, subzero temperatures, ice or wind could impede the factory’s ability to operate.
GM’s move to idle the first shift at Fort Wayne, where it builds its hot-selling Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light-duty pickups, comes a day after GM suspended production at another critical plant, in Arlington, Texas, where it builds full-size SUVs. The first shift at Arlington Assembly and two other GM plants remain idled Tuesday due to the weather.
Working from home during COVID-19?:Here’s what that means for your tax returns
Idle your car in cold weather?:Winter storm raises maintenance questions
Several other automakers also shuttered production Tuesday, including Stellantis, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
“We are continuing to work through weather related issues,” said Kaileen Connelly, Stellantis spokeswoman, in an email. “Due to a local emergency in Lucas County, Ohio, production on the day shift at the Toledo Assembly Complex today has been suspended.”
Ford Motor Co. has shut down production of its highly profitable 2021 F-150 pickup trucks and Transit Vans for a full week in Kansas City, Missouri, citing cold temperatures hindering the availability of natural gas.
“To ensure we minimize our use of natural gas that is critical to heat people’s homes, we have decided to cancel operations,” said Kelli Felker, global manufacturing and labor communications manager, on Monday.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing builds the Tundra and Tacoma pickups in San Antonio, Texas. Toyota has idled first shift production there too for a second day, said Kelly Stefanich, Toyota spokeswoman. Toyota opted to shut down some production at several other U.S. plants too in Kentucky, Mississippi, Indiana and an engine plant in West Virginia.
“For today we’re down first shift only,” Stefanich said. “We’ll determine the second shift based on weather conditions this afternoon.”
Nissan North America said first and second shift production at all four of its U.S. manufacturing facilities has been temporarily suspended for the second day in a row. Nissan has a plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, where it builds six vehicles and several engines, employing 6,700 workers. It, along with three other facilities in Tennessee and Mississippi, are shut down for the morning and afternoon shifts.
“We will continue to monitor the forecasts and make a call on night shift,” said Lloryn Love-Carter, Nissan spokeswoman.
GM’s profit plants
GM spokesman David Barnas said the automaker will make up any lost production due to the weather-related shutdowns once conditions clear and production can resume to normal.
Here are the plants where GM has halted production Tuesday:
- Fort Wayne Assembly in Indiana: First shift halted. About 1,430 workers per shift who build the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra light-duty pickups.
- Arlington Assembly in Texas: First shift halted. About 1,650 workers per shift build the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban full-size SUVs
- Spring Hill Assembly in Tennessee: First and second shift halted. About 1,100 workers per shift who build the Cadillac XT5, XT6 and GMC Acadia midsize SUVs. It also builds several engines there, including ones used in GM’s full-size pickups and full-size SUVs.
- Bowling Green Assembly in Kentucky: First shift halted. About 700 workers per shift build the Corvette. end
On Monday, GM idled Wentzville Assembly in Missouri, where it builds its midsize pickups and full-size vans. That plant was running normally Tuesday.
In Indiana, the storm left more than 9 inches of snow in some parts of the state, with totals expected to go up. The temperature was 13 degrees in Indianapolis on Tuesday morning. Reports state that nearly every county was under some form of travel advisory with snow leaving most roads dangerous.
Barnas said the automaker will make the call on the second shift status later depending on weather conditions.
Arlington Assembly in Texas enters its second day of lost production. GM first idled production there on Sunday night, taking down third shift, which started at 10 p.m.
The Lone Star state is being hammered by an arctic blast with subzero temperatures not seen in decades. It’s had a downpour of snow and massive power outages as a result.
The weather is proving deadly. Early Tuesday, a woman and a girl died in Houston from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at a home without electricity when a car was running in an attached garage. The storm could also be to blame for the deaths of two men found along Houston-area roadways, the article stated.
As of Tuesday morning, nearly 4 million homes and businesses in Texas were without power and more power outages could be coming as temperatures plummet, the Weather Service said. Most of east Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas were under winter storm warnings ahead of more snow and ice. In Dallas, the Weather Service said more ice and another 2 to 6 inches of snow were expected beginning Tuesday evening.