The semiconductor shortage marches onward with no real end in sight. Supply chains remain a tangled mess following a year of pandemic-related restrictions and demand remains ridiculously high as we unnecessarily network and digitize increasingly more consumer goods (e.g. toothbrushes).
Though this website is really only concerned with the pace of automotive factories — most of which seem operating at the industrial equivalent of driving on the shoulder with the hazards on. The global number of vehicles lost in announced shutdowns and line slowdowns as a result of chip shortages is swiftly closing in on 3 million and estimates have it continuing on unabated for the rest of 2021.
Automotive News has kept weekly tabs on the domestic side of the equation, with plenty of help from AutoForecast Solutions, noting that the last seven-day period was particularly rough on Ford and Stellantis. North American facilities came up 151,000 vehicles short of their normal production schedules over the last week, with the outlet updating its own projections. Analysts are now estimating the automotive sector could come up 4 million units shy of where it would have liked to be before the chip shortage took hold.
Among the 93,000 Ford vehicles taken out of North American production schedules last week were 28,000 Escape compact crossovers (Louisville, Ky.); 35,000 F-Series pickups (Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo.); 7,000 Edge midsize crossovers (Oakville, Ontario); and 6,500 Explorer crossovers (Chicago).
Stellantis took nearly 38,000 vehicles out of its North American production schedules, including 36,000 Jeep Cherokee SUVs (Belvidere, Ill.) and 1,100 Chrysler Voyager minivans and 900 Chrysler Pacifica minivans (Windsor, Ontario).
With everything from toasters to televisions being hit by the semiconductor shortage, there’s seemingly no limit to how bad things can get. But it’s the automotive industry that’s unquestionably taking the most severe beating. We doubt it will be long before industry giants begin requesting financial assistance from local governments.
In the interim, manufacturers are reducing the amount of technology that’s been going into vehicles. Ram has cut the fancy, intelligent rear-view mirror from the 1500 pickup and Nissan has made navigational systems optional equipment on some vehicles that previously included it. But these are just a couple of examples from an industry that’s cutting corners the world over to help mitigate the crisis.
Meanwhile, tensions in Asia continue to swell. China has repeatedly signaled that it will eventually invade Taiwan — an island that just so happens to be ground zero for semiconductor production — using the pretense that it’s not actually a sovereign nation. The Chinese Communist Party sees its decades of independence as a matter of secession, claiming nothing can block the alleged “reunification” of the two countries. Blockades have also been hinted at, which would have similarly dire consequences for chip supply channels.
[Image: General Motors]