The automotive industry is particularly affected.
Several thousand semiconductors are mounted in each Golf, produced at the Wolfsburg plant, Deutschlandfunk Kultur writes. Chips and sensors control all car electronics, they are built into the control panel. At Volkswagen, a special headquarters of 40 people organize round the clock shipments of chips from all over the world and redistributes existing stocks to those industries where the lack of chips and sensors threatens to disrupt an important order. And all the same it does not do without stopping the conveyors. Thousands of workers have to go on paid holidays with all their efforts. Not only Volkswagen suffers, but also included in the concern Audi, Skoda, Seat. As of April, the concern has not delivered 100 thousand cars.
At the French auto giant Peugeot, they reached the point that from the end of May the 308 model will be equipped with an analog speedometer instead of a digital one. Isn't this an act of despair! Daimler, a Mercedes manufacturer, sent thousands of workers on leave at two plants in Germany. The same situation is in Korea with Hyundai, the situation is no better in the USA and Japan.
The consulting firm Roland Berger has released a study on the causes of the crisis, writes the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The demand for semiconductors has grown dramatically in recent years, and factories for their production require large investments, so they are not built so quickly. This trend was superimposed on a pandemic and natural disasters. The bottom line is not comforting: according to the study, the chip crisis will last until next year.
In the United States, due to bad weather, several factories producing chips went out of electricity, and the lines stopped. In Japan, an earthquake and fires stopped work in highly clean laboratories. But shipments have suffered mainly due to the pandemic. Car dealerships were closed last year, and automakers cut back on car production in the spring, so chipmakers switched to Apple and Sony.
Chip factories require huge investments. Taiwanese chip maker TSMC, for example, will invest $ 20 billion in the construction of the chip production.
Besides, chips and sensors are a global product. They are produced in Southeast Asia and designed in the USA. That is why the EU wants to invest in its own design and production. Some concerns are thinking about direct contacts with chip manufacturers. The head of Volkswagen, Herbert Dees, is going to refuse the services of large suppliers of auto parts and electronics, such as Bosch and Continental. Ranks are also important for the transition to electric vehicles.
But paradoxical as it may sound, the automotive industry is a small consumer of chips. The market share of all car manufacturers is only 10%. Therefore, they will have to stand at the end of the line - for Apple and Nintendo .
When it comes to electronics, automakers themselves don't know exactly what semiconductors are used in their suppliers' blocks. There are no uniform standards, as it is now accepted in household appliances, game consoles or smartphones. Experts say automakers should invest in chip production themselves.
Volkswagen CEO Dis says:
“We understand that computer design has a big impact on autonomous driving. We are actively involved in the development of new generations of chips used for image processing in systems such as MobileEye or Nvidia . But we should probably raise the level of our participation".
Toyota is renowned for introducing new technology for assembling vehicles that have abandoned warehouses and working with wheels with all suppliers to reduce the cost of each vehicle. Just in time - on time - this is exactly what the know-how is called. Now they have decided to abandon it, and the Japanese are building warehouses where chips and other electronics will be stored.
The Germans expect that the deficit will become easier in the second half of the year, and then Volkswagen will launch additional shifts to collect the long-awaited cars that buyers have been waiting for. There will be much more of them by the end of the year.