GM extends Chevy Bolt EV production shutdown another two weeks

GM has extended a shutdown at its Orion Assembly Plant another two weeks due to a battery pack shortage related to the widespread Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV safety recall.

GM said the extended downtime at the Orion plant will last through September 20. Orion Assembly Plant in Michigan has been shut down since August 23.

The recall, which now includes all Chevy Bolt EV and EUV models made since 2017, was issued after the automaker discovered two manufacturing defects in the battery cell that could increase the risk of fire. The possible fire risk prompted GM to recommend Bolt owners set the vehicle to a 90% state of charge limitation and avoid depleting the battery below 70 miles of range. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration recommends Bolt drivers park their vehicles away from their homes to reduce fire risk.

The automaker said it is working with its supplier LG Chem to “update manufacturing processes.”

Orion was initially shuttered in August because of a shortage of semiconductor chips. GM later notified employees that the plant would continue to be down because of a shortage of batteries related to the recall.

The recall is expected to cost GM $1.8 billion. A GM spokesperson did not provide an update on whether this extended downtime would push that number higher. The automaker has said it will seek reimbursement from LG Chem.

Chip shortages

While the global shortage of semiconductor chips has persisted, GM said it will be able to resume production at several of its plants over the next two weeks.

Full production will begin at its Fort Wayne Assembly and Silao Assembly plants, which produces the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 models, beginning September 13 after being briefly impacted by the global semiconductor shortage, GM said.

All of GM’s full-size truck and full-size SUV plants in North American will be running full production next week.

GM’s Spring Hill Assembly plant in Tennessee will resume production of the GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5 and XT6 on September 20, after being shuttered since mid-July. That plant will be shut down again as part of a previously scheduled extended downtime beginning the week of September 27 through the week of November 22 for new-model tooling installation.

Cadillac XT4 production, which has been down since February 8, will resume at the Fairfax Assembly in Kansas. GM said production of the Chevrolet Malibu, which is also at Fairfax, will remain down.

The company extended downtimes by one week at Lansing Delta Township and Wentzville, along with an additional week of Chevrolet Blazer production downtime at its Ramos facility.