Semiconductor Shortage By the Numbers, Looks Bad


The global shortage of semiconductor chips has really done a number on the industry and it’s just one of several major supplier issues created by our response to the pandemic. Years from now, people will look back and use the benefit of hindsight to come up with the perfect solution to a problem that has since evaporated. But all we can manage in the present is an up-to-date tally on how much product is being lost and wait for better news.

AutoForecast Solutions (AFS) has been keeping tabs on the situation and recently updated its numbers through the week of April 30th. Production schedules in North America are now reportedly 121,000 vehicles shy of where they’re supposed to be. Though we need to pull back and take a gander at what the whole industry was facing ahead of the latest figures to have a more complete understanding of this particularly dire automotive quagmire. 

While North American manufacturers have announced a grand total of 883,000 vehicles that won’t be build due to factory shutdowns, AutoForecast is estimating the real number will be over one million units. European projections are similar, though production facilities have only accounted for 682,000 vehicles lost in an official capacity.

Asia has fared substantially better, likely as a result of it being the source market for most semiconductor chips. China’s automotive sector has claimed it’s only behind by 303,000 cars and, while it’s sometimes unwise to take the region at its word, AFS projections have its shortfall somewhere around 429,000. The rest of Asia has committed itself to building 355,000 fewer automobiles this year, with AFS estimating a total loss of 607,000.

Worse still is the changing industry attitude. While most manufacturers started the year promising that steps will be taken to normalize chip supplies, it doesn’t seem to be happening at the paces promised. Most brands are now warning that shortages could last through Q3, while market analysts have suggested that things might not stabilize until late in 2022.

Automotive News, shared a breakdown of the latest cuts reported by AutoForecast Solutions. Despite Ford receiving most of the publicity around chip-related production shortfalls, it was actually General Motors that took the biggest hit in the last round of cuts. Of the 121,000 new vehicles we learned were lost in North America last week, 79,600 belonged to GM.

We covered it, but here’s a refresher from AN:

They included 17,000 Chevrolet Equinox compact crossovers (Ingersoll, Ont.) and 24,100 Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedans and Cadillac XT4 premium crossovers (Fairfax, Kan.). More than 12,700 vehicles were deleted from production plans at Lansing, Mich., including Chevrolet Camaro convertibles, Camaro coupes, and Cadillac CT4 and CT5 luxury vehicles.

Ford cut 5,500 Bronco Sport crossovers at its plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. Ford reported during its Q1 earnings call last week that it could lose 50 percent of its planned second-quarter production because of the chip shortage.

There’s nothing to suggest these types of notices will abate any time soon. Chip demand is far too high and businesses with access are currently hoarding them to maintain an advantage. Meanwhile, there are new shortages looming in the distance that could further hamper the automotive sector. Global production losses are nearing 2.3 million units, with AFS estimating 3.36 million vehicles could be affected when everything is said and done.

[Image: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock]

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