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As if automakers didn’t have enough to worry about in the disaster that is the year 2020, General Motors is now having to fight against yet another unexpected problem: Mayflies. Per Automotive News, roughly 2,600 Chevrolet Tahoes and GMC Yukons that were built in Arlington, Texas got covered in black residue while in storage, and the insects are supposedly to blame. This has not only delayed shipments of highly anticipated 2021 models but also affected some that were delivered to dealers, at least one of which was allegedly in need of repainting.
Apparently, the facility where GM sent the SUVs after production was near a lake-a hot spot for the six-legged critters that emerge from water to mate on land. However, Molly Keck, an entomologist and specialist with the Integrated Pest Management Program at Texas A&M AgriLife in San Antonio, told AN that mayflies “don’t really make a stain.”
“When they emerge from the lake, they’re not feeding. So there’s nothing in their gut for them to be able to excrete out,” Keck explained.
While many of these newly redesigned Tahoes and Yukons are reportedly being held for cleaning, further restricting dealer access to the in-demand family-haulers, several have found their way to retail stores. Pete Eischen Chevrolet in Fairview, Oklahoma told AN it waited three months after one Tahoe was built to take delivery, only for it to be dropped off with the residue still on the car.
“We were told all would be cleaned before delivery. We waited three months for nothing,” said salesman George Eischen.
Several chrome pieces were dotted with the residue as were painted body panels; the hood was allegedly so bad that it had to be repainted. AN claims to have obtained a bulletin sent by GM to its dealers which gave instructions on how to remove the residue.
From the article:
It instructed dealerships that received affected vehicles to use a bug remover, wash with a brushless car-wash system or power washer, apply polish with a foam pad and inspect the paint under high-intensity fluorescent lighting. GM allotted dealerships up to 2.5 hours of warranty repair time per vehicle…
2021 Tahoe and Yukon production was previously delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, making this odd hiccup even more crucial. Dealers have been awaiting deliveries on what’s the second-highest profit model outside of full-size pickups like the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra.
Update 08/31/2020: GM responded to The Drive’s request for comment, issuing the following statement:
“The residue on the vehicles is from Mayflies landing on them and then sticking to the surface. This is specific to the Arlington-area; the vehicles were held at our Navy Yard lot near a lake, where the Mayfly population was increased due to higher heat for an extended period of time. Those factors combined further exacerbated the situation.”
Additionally, a spokesperson said, “Plant personnel are rapidly cleaning vehicles so that they arrive to our dealers and customers in flawless condition. The work should be completed by mid-September.”
“We are carefully inspecting, buffing and cleaning each vehicle before shipping so dealers will not have to provide any additional prep before getting them to customers,” they continued.
While around 2,600 vehicles were affected, GM told us “fewer than 100 vehicles” impacted made it into the hands of dealers.