Global semiconductor shortage forces automakers to build vehicles without some computers

Ford, Honda, Toyota all were impacted by tech shortage

A global semiconductor shortage and a February winter storm have combined to force Ford to build F-150 pickup trucks without some computers.

The company says the pickups will be held at factories for “a number of weeks,” then shipped to dealers once computers are available and quality checks are done.

The move is the latest ripple from the global semiconductor shortage, which also forced Honda and Toyota to announce production cuts at some North American factories.

General Motors also has been forced to build pickups without some computers and install them later.

Ford’s move is likely to tighten inventory of F-Series pickups, the top-selling vehicles in America. Inventories are already tight due to high demand and production losses because of the Coronavirus.

Ford also said it will build the Edge SUV without computers and ship them later as well as they cancel some shifts Thursday and Friday at an assembly plant in Louisville, Kentucky, where the Ford Escape SUV is made.

Automakers have said they don’t expect the chip shortage to get any better before the third quarter of the year and the shortage could cut its pretax earnings by $1 billion to $2.5 billion, even if it makes up for some of the lost production in the second half of the year.

Industry officials say semiconductor companies diverted production to consumer electronics during the worst of the COVID-19 slowdown in auto sales last spring. Global automakers were forced to close production plants to prevent the spread of the virus.

When automakers recovered, there weren’t enough chips as demand for personal electronics boomed.


About the Authors:

Roslyn Jimenez is a news producer at KSAT. Before joining the team, she was a producer and video editor at KIII-TV and a radio intern in Corpus Christi. She graduated from Del Mar College with an Associate's degree in political science and liberal arts. Roslyn is family-oriented and loves spending time with her fiancé and chihuahua Paco.

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.