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Semiconductor shortage chips away at GM's production: Panjiva

General Motors stated it is extending outages at three of its plants caused by a shortage of semiconductors, including a two-week extension (to end-March) in Mexico and by around four weeks (to mid-April) at two plants in the US, Panjiva reported March 5.

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GM will also add downturn at its Brazilian plant, with the firm stating it will "leverage every available semiconductor to build and ship our most popular and in-demand products, including full-size trucks and SUVs for our customers," Panjiva reported.

The latter indicates both a focus on more lucrative products preferred by US customers and the ability to shift semiconductor supplies across models based on common platforms, Panjiva said.

Panjiva's data shows Mexican parts imports linked to GM slumped 66.4% lower year over year in January to levels not seen since the pandemic-linked closures of Q2 2020. All major parts types are in decline, with shipments of brakes having fallen by 88.7%.

The impact of action to be taken by the Biden administration to secure US firms' semiconductor supplies are unlikely to have an effect during the current challenges. The review to set the policy runs through June while implementation may take much of the remainder of the year.

In the meantime, other automakers are scaling back their Mexican parts imports, though not to the same degree as GM.

Total Mexican automotive parts imports fell by 24.7% year over year in January after an 18.7% improvement during Q4 2020. After GM, the next fastest downturn in January was in shipments linked to Ford Motor Co., which fell by 49%, according to Panjiva data.

By contrast imports linked to Stellantis (owner of Chrysler among other brands) and Volkswagen climbed by 12.8% and 21.6%, respectively.

The former may experience a decline though, as Stellantis' CEO Carlos Tavares has stated "the number of plant closures is for Stellantis quite competitive against what I have seen from other car companies."

Like Platts, Panjiva is a division of S&P Global.