A global shortage of semiconductor chips has thrown vehicle production plans for some of the world’s largest automakers into question.
Ford and GM are among the major players to already announce production limitations that could last into the spring. The chip shortage was spurred by COVID-related vehicle assembly plant shutdowns. With production lines stopped, semiconductor manufacturers pivoted capacity to consumer electronics – sales of which were surging on stay-at-home orders and prodded by a new remote workforce.
Semiconductor chips require assembly lead times as long as several weeks – if not months – and the demand for new vehicles was not expected to be so strong coming out of a pandemic-depressed economy.
About 217,000 Class 8 trucks were ordered in 2020, and forecasts call for between 250,000 to 280,000 orders this year.
“We feel that we’re on the higher end of that,” said Kenworth General Manager Kevin Baney. “Fleet activity is up, strong vocational market and used truck prices are increasing. Everything is really coming together. We really feel like ’21 is going to be a robust year.”
Semiconductor availability thus far hasn’t impacted heavy truck builds to the extent it has automotive builds, but FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles Don Ake noted “the computer chip shortage is limiting production.”
Daimler Trucks North America said in a statement provided to CCJ that the shortage of chips “is a situation we continue to monitor very closely, but [has had] no direct impact to our production plan to-date.”
See the complete article from CCJ online.