General Motors plans to keep the Orion Assembly plant in Lake Orion, Michigan, idle at least until the end of February 2022, according to a spokesman for the automaker. A spokesman explained the further delay will allow the automaker “to continue prioritizing recall repairs.”
The plant that builds Chevrolet Bolt battery-electric vehicles and electric SUVs has been offline since August, as GM dealt with the continuing problems of defective lithium-ion batteries supplied by its joint-venture partner, LG Energy Solution.
LG was held largely responsible for production defects that were the source of multiple battery fires in Bolt vehicles over the past three years. GM revised the battery technology and compensated the owners of the damaged vehicles but replacing all the defective batteries in about 140,000 Bolt vehicles and supplying its own operations with the new batteries has complicated the production program.
Further, GM’s battery problem has proceeded in parallel with a global shortage of silicon chips, which has slowed automotive production in general worldwide.
GM resumed battery production for the Bolt in September. Reportedly, the Lake Orion assembly plant was set to resume operation on November 1, but that date was reset to early December and then late January.
“GM has notified employees at Orion Assembly the plant will extend downtime through February 2022 to continue prioritizing recall repairs," according to a statement by GM spokesman Dan Flores. "We will continue to inform employees at the appropriate time of any additional production schedule adjustments, as we continue to focus on battery module replacements.”