Japan’s major automakers have cut production at various factories due to a worsening global semiconductor shortage brought about as chipmakers struggle to meet soaring demand from consumer-electronics companies.
Lockdowns and travel restrictions are prompting housebound shoppers to snap up more phones, game consoles, smart TVs and laptops, which in turn has fueled demand for the chips used in those devices. That means automakers from Toyota Motor Corp to Volkswagen AG are at risk of not getting enough parts to fuel a fledgling recovery in their own industry.
China Association of Automobile Manufacturers deputy secretary general Chen Shihua (陳世華) said the chip shortage had caused a relatively big impact on the Chinese auto industry from late last month and might persist into the second quarter.
He added that some chipmakers had boosted their prices, so it was hard to measure the impact in terms of vehicle-sales reductions.
That has forced automakers all around the world to cut back on production.
Toyota yesterday morning said that it would halt four production lines at three plants in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture due to parts shortages.
The lines were to resume operation for the afternoon shift, a company spokeswoman said.
Toyota on Sunday said that it was cutting production of its full-size pickup truck Tundra at its San Antonio, Texas, plant by about 40 percent this month.
In China, Toyota on Monday halted lines at its factory in Guangzhou due to parts shortages. The US firm jointly operates the facility with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co (廣汽集團); the plant has produced upward of 300,000 vehicles annually in recent years, including the Camry.
The lines resumed operation on Tuesday eve as the necessary parts were able to be procured, spokeswoman Shino Yamada said.
Honda Motor Co is also considering cutting production due to the impact of the chip shortage in China.
“We will replace some models and adjust our work shifts when necessary,” a Honda spokesperson said on Wednesday.
On the same day, Honda said it would stop production at its Swindon, England, plant from Monday next week due to supply issues, and aim to restart on Friday next week.
In North America, Honda said this week it would reduce production of the Accord, Civic and Insight sedans, as well as the Odyssey minivan and Acura RDX, a crossover sports-utility vehicle.
Honda is to adjust production at its Marysville and East Liberty plants in Ohio, as well as at facilities in Alabama, Indiana and Canada.
It will cut output by a few thousand units by the end of this month, and the adjustment is likely continue, the Nikkei Shimbun reported.
At Nissan Motor Co, production of the compact hatchback Note would be cut by about 8,000 units this month, part of a total output reduction that might exceed 10,000 vehicles and last through March, the Nikkan Kogyo reported yesterday.
A spokeswoman for Nissan declined to comment on specifics of the production cut.
Nissan on Friday last week said that it was cutting back on production at one of its plants in Japan this month.
“A global shortage of semiconductors has affected parts procurement in the auto sector,” spokeswoman Azusa Momose said. “As a result of this shortage, the Oppama plant in Japan will adjust production in January, reducing production of the Nissan Note.”
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