Ford, GM and Chrysler Idle Michigan Operations After Extreme Weather, Fire At Natural Gas Facility

A fire caused a temporary shortage that is halting automakers’ production operations.

Production line at GM’s Orion Assembly Plant. [Photo: General Motors]

As severe winter weather rolls through the midwest, a utility company made an emergency appeal to General Motors to suspend its operations to conserve natural gas. On Wednesday, a fire broke out at a compressor station in southern Michigan. Consumers Energy responded to the incident by asking the automaker to temporary halt production, according to a Reuters report.

GM announced it had suspended operations at 13 plants and three non-manufacturing facilities in Michigan. That allows the utility company to manage supply issues. Consumers Energy said other automakers, including Ford and Fiat Chrysler, also agreed to suspend production schedules through Friday in response to the fire and extreme temperatures. The company urged 1.8 million private customers to cut natural gas use to protect critical facilities like hospitals and nursing homes.

Plants affected under General Motors’ operations include the Orion Assembly, Flint Assembly, Lansing Delta Township Assembly and the Warren Transmission Plant, among others. The Warren Tech Center, Pontiac Engineering and Grand Blanc Customer care have also suspended operations through the end of this week. Detroit-Hamtramck, Romulus, Brownstown, Grand Rapids and Milford Proving Grounds are among those unaffected by the gas shortage.

As of Friday, Consumers Energy posted on Facebook that repairs are ongoing.