Semiconductor Shortages Causing Delays at Volkswagen Plants
Of all the setbacks related to COVID-19, a shortage of semiconductors was minor on the list of problems anticipated by automakers around the world. Nevertheless, Volkswagen warned of production delays due to delivery problems.
The German giant released a statement stating that production of every car built on its highly modular MQB platform in Europe, China and North America will need to be adjusted. MQB underpins numerous nameplates, including the eighth generation Volkswagen Golf, the Volkswagen Atlas, the Audi A3, the Audi TT and several SEAT and Škoda models sold overseas. Larger models (like the Touareg) and electric cars (like the ID.3) are on a different platform.
Semiconductors can be found in the vast majority of new and newer automobiles, where they are part of a wide range of systems ranging from connectivity to electronic driving aids. While global supplies are usually relatively secure and stable, according to Volkswagen, suppliers shifted their attention from the automotive industry to consumer electronics in early 2020 as auto sales began to falter as a result of the global pandemic.
In China in particular, auto sales rebounded faster than expected, and suppliers are having a hard time juggling demand from automakers and electronic device manufacturers such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, which saw high demand in 2020 as millions got stuck at home due to blocking orders. Volkswagen did not name the suppliers it buys semiconductors from, but promised to resolve the situation as soon as possible.
“Thanks to excellent procurement and production management, we have survived the crisis well so far. However, we are now feeling the effects of the global semiconductor shortage. We do everything we can to keep production downtimes as low as possible so that we can deliver to our customers as quickly as possible, ”said Murat Aksel, member of the board of directors for purchasing, in a statement.
Volkswagen is the only automaker to have publicly acknowledged the shortage and its impact, but all of its peers and competitors use semiconductors in their cars. Even the most basic models will be computerized in 2020. Digital Trends asked Toyota and Ford if they had similar issues and we’ll update this story as we learn more.