WENTZVILLE, Mo. – Acres upon acres of new 2021 GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado trucks, plus full-size vans built at the GM plant in Wentzville have been parked in at least two secure “mega-lots” in Missouri and Illinois for about the past three months. The vehicles still need the semiconductor chips that run their computer and electronic features.
“This didn’t happen overnight,” said AutoAgent CEO Jay Grosman.
Grosman is an industry analyst and podcaster whose company, AutoAgent, buys and sells cars for its customers. The chip shortage has idled new cars for nearly every automaker, he said. The shortage has its roots in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s toasters, there’s appliances, there are cordless drills that need this chip,” Grosman said. “If you want to get the new smart phone that’s coming out, good luck on that.”
There’s certainly a domino effect. All of those new vehicles just sitting there with no one able to buy them has inventory a little thin at St. Louis area car dealerships.
The chip shortage has forced shift layoffs and a planned two-week shut-down at GM’s Wentzville plant. With shrinking new car inventory, used car prices are skyrocketing, too, Grosman said.
“Last year, the prices were really, really hot but this year it’s insane. I’ve never seen anything like it … this is not going to get any better probably until about 2022 based on my research,” he said.
There is a bright side. Load after load of the parked vehicles are now heading back to Wentzville for their chips and eventual delivery to waiting dealerships with more semi-conductors now becoming available.
A GM spokesman confirmed “the completion process at GM Wentzville will be accelerated.”
He added that the company’s strategy of building then parking new vehicles without chips was “better for customers, dealers, and employees than not building at all.”