Mercedes, VW warn chip shortage could last to 2023

MUNICH — Daimler and Volkswagen Group said the global semiconductor shortage may not entirely go away next year and could take until 2023 to be resolved.

Soaring demand for semiconductors means the auto industry could struggle to source enough of them throughout next year and into 2023, though the shortage should be less severe by then, Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius said.

“Several chip suppliers have been referring to structural problems with demand,” Kallenius told reporters during a roundtable event on Sunday ahead of the Munich IAA auto show. “This could influence 2022 and [the situation] may be more relaxed in 2023.”

Automakers, forced by the COVID-19 pandemic to shut down plants last year, face stiff competition from the sprawling consumer electronics industry for chip deliveries, which have been upended by a series of supply chain disruptions.

Cars have become increasingly dependent on chips — for everything from computer management of engines for better fuel economy to advanced driver assistance features such as emergency braking.

Daimler recently cut its annual sales forecast for its car division, projecting deliveries will be roughly in line with 2020, rather than up significantly.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand has been hit this quarter by factory shutdowns in Malaysia, which in recent years emerged as a major center for chip testing and packaging.

Infineon Technologies, NXP Semiconductors and STMicroelectronics are among the key suppliers operating plants in the country.

Källenius said Daimler hopes its own supply of semiconductors will improve in the fourth quarter.

VW purchasing chief Murat Aksel said semiconductor supply remains very volatile and tight in the third quarter.

“We hope for a gradual recovery by the end of the year,” Aksel told reporters on Sunday.

The auto industry worldwide would need roughly 10 percent more production capacity for chips, he said.

Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this story

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