Some of the Detroit 3's most popular products are taking much of the hit from the global chip shortage that continues wreaking auto industry havoc.
Of all the North American vehicle nameplates that have been affected by chip-related changes in scheduled production, the Detroit 3 have accounted for the top 10.
Ford Motor Co. has absorbed the largest loss, with nearly 325,000 vehicles taken out of its North American production schedules so far, according to Tuesday, May 18, data from AutoForecast Solutions.
But General Motors and Stellantis are close behind, with about 278,000 vehicles and 252,000 vehicles bumped from their respective schedules.
Some industry observers are optimistic that the situation could ease later this year. But microchips are not the only monkey wrench at the moment. Production schedules are being complicated by other critical parts and material shortages, including seat foam and plastics.
"I don't have any good news to share with you — it's going to get worse because there is no quick fix for this," Bharat Kapoor, lead partner in the high-tech practice at management consulting firm Kearney, told Automotive News last week. "Until the demand pattern changes and all the overzealous orders that were placed get toned down, the capacity has to come up.
"Depending upon inventory policies and what orders have been placed, the impact is hitting different people at different times."
The situation has not been kind to automakers attempting to make up for last year's lost sales, denting the availability of top-selling models as customers clamor for vehicles.
Ford F-Series models have seen the greatest change in production planning because of the chip shortage, according to AutoForecast Solutions. The forecaster estimates that about 110,000 have been taken out of production plans.
As such, Ford continues to bear the overall brunt of a part shortage that could cost the industry $110 billion this year. Ford vehicles make up half of North America's 10 most impacted nameplates.
"It's very difficult to predict which shortage will affect which vehicle line for which OEM," Kumar Galhotra, Ford's president of the Americas and international markets group, said last week. "All we can do, and have been doing, very diligently, is serve our customers and optimize our profitability based on that chain."
The automaker said last week that it plans even more downtime for production of the F-150 including idling its Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan and the truck side of its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri the weeks of May 31 and June 7.
Further contributing to Ford's toll in North America are about 47,000 Explorer crossovers, 38,000 Edge midsize crossovers and 37,000 Escape compact crossovers that have been taken out of production schedules, AutoForecast Solutions has estimated. The tally also includes nearly 27,000 Ford Transit vans.
GM and Stellantis also have racked up microchip-related production changes. GM accounts for two of the 10 most affected models, while Stellantis has the three others. By comparison, of the 28 models that have lost 10,000 or more units of North American production, Honda, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen together account for six, AutoForecast Solutions said.
Among the biggest production hits to Stellantis so far have been about 99,000 Jeep Cherokee SUVs, 42,000 Jeep Compass compact crossovers and 26,000 Chrysler Voyager minivans.
The automaker did not comment on the estimates but announced more production downtime at its Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois through Monday, May 31.
Production at Windsor Assembly in Ontario will be down this week, and both assembly plants will run only partial shifts the week of May 31.
Assembly at Stellantis' Toluca Assembly Plant in Mexico also will be down for the next two weeks.
At GM, the supply chain interruption has required cuts to about 82,000 Chevrolet Equinox compact crossover SUVs and 57,000 Malibu midsize sedans, according to AutoForecast Solutions.
GM said that some of its volume reduction is the result of shutting down assembly of lower-profit vehicles to prioritize production of its highest-demand products. As a result, the company has generally managed to shelter its bottom line more so than Ford.
"We're collaborating across the global supply chain and working tirelessly to route available parts to the appropriate plants in order to maximize plant efficiency," GM CFO Paul Jacobson told investors during the automaker's first-quarter earnings call this month.
"We've been focused on leveraging every available semiconductor to build and ship our most popular and in-demand products, including our highly profitable full-size pickups and full-size SUVs.
"The challenge with volumes is that this is a fluid situation," Jacobson added. "It quite literally changes day to day."
Reallocation may help some automakers, given the extent of the shortage, said Anil Valsan, automotive and transportation lead analyst at EY.
"The profitability of models does weigh quite significantly, and clearly the manufacturers want to be able to prioritize some of their more profitable models to keep those margins up," he said.
"That, in many ways, will drive their inventory allocations in the short and medium term."
But apart from reallocation, there's very little manufacturers can do to get around the problem, Valsan said, apart from being willing to pay a higher price to secure some chip capacity.
Michael Martinez and Hannah Lutz contributed to this report.