Ford, Other Auto Makers Cut Output on Chip Shortage

A chip shortage that has disrupted vehicle production in other parts of the globe is reaching U.S. shores, stifling output for major car companies and dimming prospects for a smooth recovery from the pandemic.

Ford Motor Co. is planning to idle its Louisville, Ky., factory for a week starting Monday, because of parts shortages stemming from limited supplies of semiconductors now vital to everything from display screens to transmissions. The move will lead to the temporary layoffs of about 3,900 workers at the plant, which builds two popular SUVs, the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair.

Honda Motor Co. , Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and others are also wrestling with the shortage, leading them to reduce output on everything from big pickup trucks to compact sedans.

As manufacturers globally try to recoup production lost last spring because of the pandemic, many have been hit with sporadic parts shortages, shipping bottlenecks and other challenges related to the health crisis, such as high absenteeism.

Now, they are also dealing with chip shortages. The problem was first observed at Chinese factories late last year and is spreading to the rest of the world, as demand for electronics has surged during the health crisis, particularly with many people still spending most of their time at home. The global chip industry has struggled to meet demand.

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