Thousands of Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra Trucks are Sitting in Vacant GM Lots Right Now
Check out all the Chevrolet Silverado models sitting at vacant parking lots around Fort Wayne, Indiana. Why Fort Wayne? That’s where one of two GM truck plants build Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks. And why are they just sitting when Silverado and Sierra pickups are so hot right now?
Is this a microchip shortage problem?
When inquiring minds at 21Alive asked GM why thousands of Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks are sitting in a lot right now, it was told that it was because of microchip shortages. But then another reason surfaced. Kelley Blue Book Senior Editor Sean Tucker said that it is because of the lack of railway cars to transport all of the trucks to distribution centers and dealers. “About 75 percent of the cars in America travel by rail to where they are going,” he said.
But that’s only the latest in a line of issues that have plagued GM truck production since the pandemic. Initially, it was because of a microchip shortage. But then, there was a shortage of rubber to make tires. And more recently, holdups came as a result of seat foam shortages.
What does GM say about the idle trucks?
“The railroad industry adjusted to the speed at which the automotive industry was building cars last year,” Tucker said. “But the automotive industry has recovered a lot faster than the railroad industry expected. The railroad industry, really just today, is starting to tell us they have an approach for this. We were worried because it takes two to three years to build enough railcars to catch up to this problem.”
In a mostly opaque response, a GM spokesperson told 21Alive, “We’re actively working to resolve the challenges and meet high customer and dealer demand for our vehicles.”
Do other automakers have the same problem as these GM trucks?
The Detroit Free Press reports that there are over 70,000 vehicles of all stripes just sitting there. “There are thousands of finished Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups parked in the Fort Wayne area and no rail cars available to ship them to market,” another GM spokesperson told the Freep.
GM isn’t the only railcar victim. Ford is experiencing similar holdups. Calls were made to the Surface Transportation Board. This federal agency oversees freight rail issues to help address the problem.
Do destination charges take care of this problem?
“These failures of rail service have hit the automotive industry especially hard at a time when it is recovering from the global pandemic and related supply shortages,” says STB Chairman Martin Oberman. “I hope the entities involved will work together to resolve this critical situation, which would be a benefit not only to those involved but to the American economy.” It’s interesting that Mr. Oberman doesn’t give a hint as to what the STB is actually doing to correct the “critical situation.”
So the next time you negotiate that new car price, remember that your destination charge covers getting your vehicle to your dealer. At least, we think it does. Nobody is really sure what a destination charge is. Maybe the STB can look into that, too.