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Car seat foam shortage threatens to derail auto production, report says

Roadshow logo Roadshow 2021-03-04 Sean Szymkowski
a motorcycle parked on the seat of a car: You have to have seats to build a full car. Chevrolet © Provided by Roadshow You have to have seats to build a full car. Chevrolet

Automakers continue to suffer through a semiconductor shortage, but there may be another issue brewing in the background: foam. Specifically, the foam that goes into millions of car seats we sit on every day when going for a drive. According to a report from Automotive News on Thursday, suppliers are "scrambling" to restart production following the devastating Texas winter storms last month.

The storms knocked power offline for millions of residents and produced water shortages statewide, and the state's petrochemical plants didn't go unscathed. Two sources spoke with the publication saying things are fine for now, but the problem may become serious in the coming weeks. One source cautioned this is a "threat" and not a "given," depending on how the sector ramps up production again. But the semiconductor shortage has left automakers in a tough spot as they shut down plants across North America. A second supplier issue to hit the industry would compound the problem.

a motorcycle parked on the seat of a car © Chevrolet

Stellantis, the merged automaker formed from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group, told Roadshow, "We are closely monitoring the situation. At this time, we do not expect an impact on our operations." A GM spokesperson said, "GM continues to work closely with the supply base to mitigate the impacts caused by the significant winter weather that affected a large portion of the country the week of Feb. 15. We don't anticipate any immediate production impacts." Ford did not immediately return a request for comment on the report.

If the coronavirus pandemic taught us anything, these situations are mighty fluid. Last year, nearly every major automaker stopped vehicle production to slow the spread of COVID-19, and each carefully navigated their way to reopening their facilities. One of the report's sources mentioned seat supplier production lines may start to run out of foam by this coming Monday; we'll have to wait and see how the situation unfolds.

2021 Ford Escape plays it down the middle

a car parked on the side of a road: Though once fairly rugged itself, the last two decades have seen the Ford Escape evolve into a more rounded, urban-friendly alternative to the upcoming Ford Bronco Sport.

Though once fairly rugged itself, the last two decades have seen the Ford Escape evolve into a more rounded, urban-friendly alternative to the upcoming Ford Bronco Sport.
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