The global semiconductor shortage has been particularly hard on Western automakers, though it’s not been peaches and cream for Asian brands. Following news that Nissan had run into issues resulting in additional downtime this summer, we’ve learned that Subaru is currently operating with a scant, nine-day supply of product and will be required to conduct more plant closures due to a lack of chips.
Having already stalled its Yajima plant on multiple occasions, as well enacting work stoppages at Subaru of Indiana Automotive (its U.S. facility), this is hardly where the brand wanted to find itself going into the warmer months. On Friday, Subaru announced it would be idling two plants in Japan’s Gunma prefecture this July.
That means Yajima is going down for a third time on July 16th, along with the repurposed Ōta facility that used to build kei cars for the Asian market. Ōta is now responsible for BRZ/Toyota 86, while Yajima handles basically every other passenger vehicle the company makes. Subaru has not confirmed how long the idle period would last, though identified the problem as a supply issue pertaining to semiconductor chips.
The good news is that this doesn’t appear to have impacted other factories, with its engine/transmission facility and commercial vehicle plant both remaining active (for now). Still, it was looking at an incredibly thin nine-day supply of vehicles at the end of May and appears to be going into the summer production schedule in less than stellar shape. It might soon become incredibly difficult to find a new Subaru, let alone one configured to your tastes.
The company said it would need to revise production estimates due to the supply issue, according to Reuters. Part of that will undoubtedly be deciding which markets receive preferential treatment. The Gunma plants export globally and it’s unlikely that every nation is going to see their usual allotment of cars. Some regions might see massive shortfalls to be made up later, though it’s likely impossible that any singular market will avoid the associated pricing increases.
That problem is hardly unique to Subaru or the automotive industry in general, however.