Volkswagen truck operation, Traton says it is facing “severe difficulties” in buying semiconductors that are weighing on sales at a time when demand is rising, revealing the latest sign of how the global chip shortage is holding the automotive industry back
Traton which controls Scania, MAN and Navistar trucks, said it was also suffering from shortages of other critical components.
The shortages come as the global economy is slowly rebounding as new coronavirus cases decline and consumers spend money saved during pandemic lockdowns. To meet demand, the company is cannibalising parts from finished but unsold vehicles and installing them in trucks for which there are firm orders.
As a result Traton said that sales from July through to September will be “significantly lower than planned” even though customers are clamouring for trucks.
“Supply chain difficulties will have a stronger impact than expected,” at Traton spokesman said.
Volkswagen owns 90 per cent of the truck maker, after it offered up 10 per cent of the truck maker as a separate IPO listing on the stock market.
Raw materials such as steel and aluminium have also become scarce, in part because manufacturers didn’t expect demand to bounce back so quickly. The shortages are preventing the global economy from recovering from the pandemic as fast as it could otherwise.
“It is not just the semiconductor issues stretching global supply chains at the moment — it is also the shortage of numerous other products,” Matthias Gründler, the chief executive of Traton, said in a statement.
Gründler said he expected the shortages to continue into 2022.
The requirement for increasingly complex and sophisticated electronics in trucks that require semiconductors has placed added pressure on the supply chain. Chip makers were not prepared for the increased demand from vehicle manufacturers, and have struggled to maintain production in the face of lockdowns in places like Malaysia, an important semiconductor producer.
Karin Radstrom, the head of Mercedes-Benz brand trucks, said last week that Daimler was also suffering.
“The situation has become more challenging for us in the third quarter,” said Radstrom.
“We are currently really fighting for every truck to get it out of the gate, because the customer demand is very, very good,” she added.