General Motors Delays: What’s Bugs Got to Do With It?

General Motors is no stranger to mysterious delays. But this time around, GM is delaying a couple of its most popular vehicles for a, particularly nasty situation. It appears that GM has postponed certain shipments for the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 GMC Yukon SUVs due to﹣mayflies. 

General Motors might have a pesky bug problem

A white 2021 GMC Yukon AT4 parked near snowcapped mountains.
2021 GMC Yukon AT4 | GMC

Car dealerships have already been dealing with limited inventory due to the ongoing pandemic, so any mishap at this point hits harder. Just ask dealerships waiting for the all-new Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon. Some of these 2021 SUVs have a filthy black substance smudged on the paint. GM thinks that bugs, specifically mayflies, are causing the black residue.

 Mayfly near  a river.
Mayfly | Getty Images

Mayflies are relatively large bugs with prominent antennae and jaws. The bugs’ questionable residue has impacted over 2,600 Tahoe and Yukon shipments, as reported by AutoNews. These flawed vehicles were built in Arlington, Texas, and were otherwise ready to be delivered to dealerships.  

Once GM was aware of the issue, the automaker notified its dealers to expect delays to clean the vehicles. However, one dealer waited at least three months for the shipments, only to still arrive dirty. One model was so tainted that its hood needed repainting, and its windows and wheels were impacted too. Since the auto dealers have been awaiting new inventory, they’ve had no choice but to carefully remove the substance themselves while trying not to mess up the paint. 

Dealers are yearning for a fix

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST | Chevrolet

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GM’s perceived bug infestation presents a few additional problems. The company was among other large automakers forced to halt production related to COVID-19 concerns. Now GM also has to focus on cleaning remedies for its impacted SUVs. Not to mention that its full-sized SUVs are among its bell-sellers, after its large pickup trucks, of course. Dealers in Oklahoma, for example, have been struck.

“These are our profit item right now,” George Eischen of Pete Eischen Chevy said, amid even tighter supplies of the store’s usual top seller, the Silverado 1500 Crew Cab. “These desperately needed units were another 2020 failure for a struggling Oklahoma rural dealer who needed them for the bottom line.”


GM is working to seriously clean the soiled vehicles before arriving at its dealerships to minimize any further drama. The automaker says less than 100 of the SUVs have come dirty. That said, GM sent a bulletin to its dealers about how to clean these vehicles if necessary. But even though GM is allocating 2.5 hours of warranty time for each model, some repairs are taking longer.

But the mystery continues 

GM stocked its redesigned Tahoe and Yukon SUVs near water, and mayflies are known to frequent near lakes and such. While GM says that mayflies are at the root of its latest delay issues, other experts aren’t convinced. Molly Keck, an entomologist and specialist at Texas A&M AgriLife in San Antonio, told AutoNews that mayflies “don’t really make a stain.”