Ford shuts down its German plant for a month as the global chip shortage worsens

United State Auto industry It said it would suspend its plant in Saarluis, Germany, Monday through February 19 due to a shortage of chips and poor demand. The factory manufactures the most famous Ford car in Europe, the Focus, and employs about 5,000 workers.

A Ford spokesman said: “We are monitoring the situation closely and adjusting production schedules to minimize the impact on our employees, suppliers, customers and dealerships throughout Europe.” “At the moment, we do not expect any similar measures at our other European facilities.”

stronghold (F) It was forced to shut down an SUV plant in Louisville, Kentucky, last week due to a semiconductor shortage. But the lockdown in Germany indicated that the problem, affecting carmakers around the world, could get worse before it gets better.

Leading semiconductor manufacturers reassigned capacity from car makers last year after the pandemic led to a drop in car sales, and instead shipped chips to companies that produce smartphones, game systems, and other tech gadgets that remained in great demand. Supplies remain scarce, and carmakers are struggling to secure the chips they need.

Volkswagen (VLKAF)And the Fiat Chrysler (Federal Communications Federation)And the Toyota (TM)And the April (NSANF) And the Honda (Hamad Medical Corporation) It is among other car manufacturers that are short of chips, which are used in a growing number of applications including driver assistance systems and navigation control. The average car has between 50 to 150 segments.

“Light vehicle manufacturers are finding increasing disruptions to the supply of semiconductor systems in the first quarter,” Mark Foolthorpe, executive director of the automotive team at IHS Markit, said recently in a research note. “The situation is very volatile.”

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The turmoil comes at a critical time for carmakers, which suffered from a sales collapse in the early months of the pandemic, but are still under intense pressure from global regulators to invest heavily in electric cars. Research firm Bernstein estimates global auto sales will grow 9% in 2021, after an expected 15% drop last year – but a chip shortage is putting the recovery at risk.

Volkswagen (VLKAF) It said in a statement last month that it would need to revise production at factories in China, North America and Europe this quarter. The changes will affect the production of the Volkswagen Golf’s best-selling car, as well as models from its brands Audi, Skoda and Seat.

According to UBS analysts, the world’s largest automaker could lose 100,000 units of production in the first three months of the year, or nearly 4% of global quarterly production, as a result of component shortages.

“We are doing our best to reduce lost production and to ensure that regular deliveries to customers resume as quickly as possible,” said Murat Axel, Volkswagen Group’s purchasing manager, in a statement last month.

The global chip shortage is affecting carmakers in the worst possible time

Audi said Monday it has shut down 10,000 workers due to a chip shortage, with production patterns and plant shifts affected in Germany and Mexico. Production of the A4 sedan and A5 Cabriolet is paused in Neckarsulm, Germany, until January 29.

A company spokesperson said: “We are currently looking at a set of countermeasures and alternatives designed to mitigate the impact of the supply crisis, and thus reduce the number of damaged vehicles.” “Any improvement depends to a large extent on the semiconductor industry.”

at Interview Published Sunday by the Financial Times, CEO Markus Duesmann said Audi will try to limit production losses to 10,000 cars during the first quarter.

Fiat Chrysler said last week it would delay the resumption of production after a scheduled outage at the Toluca, Mexico plant building the Jeep Compass. It has also scheduled stops at its Canadian plant in Ontario, which produces the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger.

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Japanese carmakers are also hurting. Toyota said it was forced to temporarily halt production at a plant in Guangzhou, China, on January 12, and that it would cut production at the Texas plant that produces Tundra pickups. Both Nissan and Honda said they were “adjusting” production in response to the shortfall.

South Korea’s Hyundai said in a statement on Monday that it is “making efforts to improve parts supply to ensure stable production at every production center.”

A luxury German brand BMW (BMWYY) Last week it said it had not yet had to face production disruptions but was in “constant contact” with its suppliers. General Motors (GM) And France Renault (RNLSY) They said they are working with suppliers to mitigate the impact on production, however Daimler (I will)Its owned Mercedes-Benz said it was “monitoring the situation”.

Chinese factories may be the hardest hit

Output levels in Europe, North America, Japan and India are expected to be affected this quarter, according to IHS. But the biggest problem may be in China.

“At this point, with varying levels of visibility across the supply chain, the largest volume disruption has been observed in mainland China where, based on available information, the risk could be 250,000 units in the first quarter,” said Fultthorpe.

Chinese automaker Brilliance Auto Group, SAIC Motor and jelly (the body), Which owns Volvo, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC), a major supplier of chips, said last week that mitigating the shortage was its “top priority”. “We are working closely with our automotive customers to solve capacity support issues,” CEO CC Wei said at an investor conference Thursday.

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Jake Kwon, Junko Ojura, Jill Decis, and the CNN Beijing office contributed to this article.

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