The lack of semiconductor originates from left field, which kills the industry at an alarming moment. Sales have fallen worldwide. In Europe, for example, they were down 25 percent in 2020.
All this is happening when automakers are trying to make a transition from internal combustion engines to batteries to basic technology, which has subjected them to new competition Tesla, A California company that has so far become the world’s most valuable automaker, and emerging Chinese manufacturers such as Nio.
Exactly how long the shortage will last is not clear. It can take 20 to 25 weeks for new orders to arrive to cars through chips and supply chains, said Michael Hogan, a senior vice president at GlobalFoundries, a large chipmaker that serves the auto industry and other markets. .
“We are making every effort to prioritize our production for the automotive,” Mr. Hogan said.
German auto electronics supplier Bosch said the shortage was particularly acute for integrated circuits used to control engines, transmissions and other key functions. “Despite difficult market conditions, Bosch is doing all it can to supply to its customers and to keep any other impact to a minimum,” the company said in a statement.
Car manufacturers and suppliers can provide the best response. Munich-based BMW said it was able to maintain production, but was “closely monitoring the situation” and was in constant contact with suppliers.
For car makers already troubled by the epidemic, some impact is unavoidable. Honda said on Wednesday that it would cease some production activities at its plant in Swindon, England, which manufactures the Civic, for at least four days, starting on 18 January. Honda cited supply chain problems, including lack of semiconductors.
The German supplier Continental, best known for tires, but also producing electronic components, called on semiconductor producers to build capacity in foundries making chips.