Howell Plant Fire Impacts Automakers

HOWELL (WWJ/AP) – The parts shortage caused by a destructive fire at an auto supplier plant near Howell is starting to have a widespread impact.

General Motors said it’s cancelled production shifts at assembly plants in Flint and also in Lordstown, Ohio, because of a fire at an auto parts plant that makes interior components for a number of automakers.

Other plants affected include Arlington, Texas; Detroit/Hamtramck; Lansing Delta Township and Flint in Michigan; Fort Wayne, Indian; and Oshawa Consolidated in Canada.

GM said it’s running shorter shifts, rescheduling production and changing overtime plans at the plants.
At Flint Assembly, GM said most of the 2,100 employees building Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra HD trucks will stay home Friday. Production at the Flint plant was expected to resume Monday.

Meantime, WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert says Ford and Chrysler were monitoring inventory.

The Magna Atrium plant, which went up in flames Wednesday night, makes interior products. Magna management was working Thursday to see how much could be saved, and how much work will have to be shifted to a different facility.

Firefighters from Howell and several surrounding communities worked through the night into Thursday morning to battle the flames and smoke from a large fire at an auto parts plant on Grand River Avenue near Burkhardt Road.   

A little more than half of the 187,000 square feet building remains standing after the devastating fire.

  Employees were evacuated, but no injuries were reported.  (More on this story).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


One Comment

  1. A Michigan Engineer says:

    And here’s the downside to the general supplier market used in the auto industry. There was once a time when an OEM manufacturered its own parts. Today many OEM’s use the same supplier.

    Also one has to wonder if auto suppliers reducing their product development costs to make a profit adversely affect operation safety. I know catastrophic accidents are not figured in the budget.

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