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Thousands of Super Duty pickups sitting off I-71 in Kentucky awaiting chips

Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

"Like COVID last year, from the beginning it seemed like it would go away in the near term but as the months go by, it's growing into a bigger and bigger issue," he said. "It takes so long to get a plant up and running that's dedicated to these particular chips. With the increased computerization of vehicles, these chips are the lifeblood. They operate the powertrain control unit, the infotainment. You can drive a car without the infotainment system but you can't sell a car without an infotainment system. You can't run an engine without certain chips. They're the nerve center of different sections of the vehicle."

Ford was the first of the Detroit Three to release its first-quarter earnings, which exceeded Wall Street expectations. But then the company forecast depressed the stock price almost immediately.

“All automakers will be dramatically impacted by the chip shortage so it sure seems off that Ford got punished for its transparent honesty," said market analyst Jon Gabrielsen.

Ford challenged whether its situation is much different than its competitors.

“The global semiconductor shortage is affecting automakers around the world — as well as other industries, including consumer electronics companies," Jennifer Flake, executive director of global product communications, told the Free Press in response to the AutoForecast data.

"Ford is concentrating on how to best use our allocation of semiconductors to deliver high-demand vehicles to customers around the world," she said. "Ford was among the first automotive companies to highlight the potential impact of (the) semiconductor shortage earlier this year to first-quarter production and our forecast was in line with the actual impact to the industry, as reported by IHS. Our most recent forecast for the second quarter is based on commitments from our suppliers who also support other automakers. Therefore, we don’t know that Ford is unique.”

 

Ford was hit hard by a March 19 fire at the Renesas plant northeast of Tokyo, a leading semiconductor supplier that makes about two-thirds of all chips in the auto industry, Farley said. The chipmaker isn't expecting a return to full capacity until July.

"Estimates project the full recovery of the auto chip supply will stretch into the fourth quarter of this year and possibly even into 2022, making industry volume recovery in the second half of the year even more challenging," Farley said.

Ford expects the chip crisis to cost the company an estimated $3 billion this year, Lawler said.

But that's not all that automakers are facing.

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