At the FCA plant in Toledo, Ohio, which manufactures the Jeep Cherokee, a spokesperson confirmed that only partial shifts ran on Monday and Tuesday morning, with the second shift on Tuesday being cancelled. Both shifts on Wednesday and Thursday were cancelled, along with the first shift on Friday. Production began again for the second shift on Friday, and two shifts ran on Saturday, which was a regularly scheduled production day.
Production at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, where FCA makes the Grand Cherokee SUV, was affected too. FCA ran a partial shift on Tuesday afternoon, both shifts ran short on Wednesday, and production was back to normal at the Detroit plant on Thursday.
A spokesperson for FCA told Automotive Logistics that the disruption was due to a component supply shortage from an external supplier out of its plant in Mexico, but due to corporate policy, it would not name the supplier.
Automotive News reported that FCA had a shortage of steering wheels, which are supplied from a plant in Mexico by Key Safety Systems, a Michigan-based company. Key Safety Systems has not responded to enquiries.
Key Safety Systems has two operational facilities in Mexico, one in Chihuahua, and the other in Tamaulipas. Both are close to the US border, and are nearly 3,000km from the two FCA plants.
While the Cherokee is the top-selling Jeep model and second best-selling FCA model in the US, and the Grand Cherokee is the second best-selling Jeep in the US, the Automotive News Data Center shows that, at the start of May, FCA had 59,951 unsold Cherokees in its inventory (a 92-day supplier), and 58,277 unsold Grand Cherokees (an 87-day supply). Usually, a 60-day supply is ideal, so the halt in production is not likely to be devastating to the OEM.