Automakers around the world are shutting assembly lines because of a global shortage of semiconductors that in some cases has been exacerbated by the Trump administration’s actions against key Chinese chip factories, industry officials told Automotive News for a report published Friday (Jan. 15).
The shortage, which caught much of the industry off-guard and could continue for many months, is now causing Ford Motor Co., Subaru Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. to curtail production in the United States.
Automakers affected in other markets include Volkswagen Group, Nissan Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
The problems stem from a confluence of factors as auto manufacturers compete against the sprawling consumer electronics industry for chip supplies. Consumers have stocked up on laptops, gaming consoles and other electronic products during the pandemic, creating tight chip supplies throughout 2020.
They have also bought more cars than industry officials expected last spring, further straining supplies.
In at least one case, the shortage ties back to President Donald Trump’s policies aimed at curtailing technology transfers to China.
One automaker moved chip production from China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International, or SMIC, which was hit with U.S. government restrictions in December, to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co in Taiwan, which in turn was overbooked, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.