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Global chip shortage impacts Japan’s carmakers

TOKYO: Japan’s major automakers have cut production at various factories due to the 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 carmakers from Toyota Motor Corp to Volkswagen AG are at risk of not getting enough parts to fuel a fledgling recovery in their own industry.

Toyota said on the morning of Jan 15 it will halt four production lines at three plants in Japan’s Aichi prefecture due to parts shortages. The lines will resume operation for the afternoon shift, a spokeswoman for the company said.

Toyota said on Jan 10 that it’s cutting production of its full-size pickup truck Tundra due to the global shortage of semiconductors. The company expects to trim output of its Tundra model manufactured in San Antonio by 40% this month as a result of limited chip supplies.

In China, Toyota halted lines at its factory in Guangzhou on Jan 11 due to parts shortages. Toyota jointly operates the facility with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co; the plant has produced upward of 300,000 vehicles annually in recent years, including the Camry. The lines resumed operation on the eve of Jan 12 as the necessary parts were able to be procured, spokeswoman Shino Yamada said.

Honda is seeing the impact of a chip shortage in China and is considering cutting production. “We will replace some models and adjust our work shifts when necessary, ” a Honda spokesperson said Jan 13. On the same day, Honda again said it would stop production at Swindon from Jan 18 due to supply issues and restarted on Jan 22. In Japan, the carmaker is shutting a Mie plant, which makes Fit and N-Box, for five days in February.

In North America, Honda said it will reduce production of the Accord, Civic and Insight sedans, as well as the Odyssey minivan and Acura RDX, a crossover sports-utility vehicle. Honda will adjust production at its Marysville and East Liberty plants in Ohio, as well as at facilities in Alabama, Indiana and Canada. Honda will cut output by a few thousand units by the end of January. ─ Bloomberg


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