Ford extends Chicago plant shutdown due to chip shortage

The closure at 12600 S. Torrence Ave. now runs through the week of May 10.

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Ford’s Chicago production line as seen in 2019.

Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant will be idled through the week of May 10 because of a worldwide shortage of computer chips.

Sun-Times file

Ford has extended by two weeks the shutdown of its assembly plant on Chicago’s South Side, citing the global shortage of semiconductors. It also extended closures at four other plants.

The factory at 12600 S. Torrence Ave., currently idled through April, will be closed the weeks of May 3 and 10, Ford said in a notice to workers. About 5,800 people work in Chicago to build the Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviator and Police Interceptor SUV.

The hourly employees are members of the United Auto Workers union. A UAW spokesman said during temporary shutdowns UAW workers get 75% to 80% of full pay, counting state unemployment benefits.

Ford similarly extended closures at plants in Flat Rock, Michigan, and Kansas City, Missouri, and continued a reduced production schedule at Avon Lake, Ohio, for the weeks of May 3 and 10. It lengthened through the week of May 3 a shutdown at a plant in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

All automakers have been affected by an inability to get microchips, which run vehicles’ electronic systems.

The Jeep plant in Belvidere, Illinois, near Rockford, will be closed through April, said a spokeswoman for its owner, Stellantis. The production site for the Jeep Cherokee employs 3,600 people.

In a statement to employees, Ford said, “As you build every vehicle you can for our dealers and customers, our teams behind the scenes are working hard to source additional parts. The situation is constantly changing, and we appreciate your understanding as we work though this together.”

The statement said its powertrain and stamping plants will adapt their shifts to the needs of the assembly plants they serve. Ford has a stamping plant in Chicago Heights, home to about 1,300 workers.

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