The automotive industry, like others affected by the chip crisis around the world, has been forced to adapt its production, distribution and sales models on the fly to cause as little damage as possible to end customers and, by extension, to your accounts.

The lack of capacity to meet the demand for semiconductors in vehicle factories, after partial stoppages in some of them, has led to improvise a contingency plan that limits the harmful effects and allows industrial activity to be maintained as normally as possible.

The total economic impact will be difficult to quantify. A report from AlixPartners point to a cost this year for the automotive industry of $ 110 billion (just over 92,000 million euros) and a reduction in world production by 3.9 million vehicles.

As far as Spain is concerned, the production vehicular accumulate during the first five months of the year a 19% retracement up to 1,032,861 manufactured units, according to recently published Anfac data. In addition, the employer estimates that the shortage of microchips will continue to be a problem for vehicle factories at least until the first half of 2022.

The most common production system among large groups of builders is the ‘just in time’ (just in time). Developed in the 1950s by Toyota, it is based on reducing warehouse stocks as much as possible to reduce investment costs in inventories and avoid wasting time and money due to unnecessary actions.

Adapt production

Although the DNA of this model has not changed, it has undergone slight modifications to save the ballot. One of the most important and present groups in Spain, Stellantis, explains to Invertia that it conducts its activity day by day, plant by plant, adapting industrial activity to trends in the automotive market and taking into account the different situations it faces (supply of parts, confinements, etc.).

However, he acknowledges that “we have to continue looking for alternatives to the current supply of semiconductors.” “Engineering is now looking for alternative solutions where we would not have to use the chips that are in short supply”, assure sources of the group as a result of the merger of PSA and FCA.

Stellantis plant in Figueruelas (Zaragoza).

Perhaps for being the precursor of ‘just in time’, Toyota ensures that it currently has no effects derived from the situation generated by the shortage of microchips in the world. “Today there is no delay in the delivery of our models in Spain due to this situation,” he underlines.

Another of the main producers in Spain, Seat, indicates that since this situation began at the beginning of the year, adapting production to those vehicles for which it has enough parts.

Since BMW Group they speak of the ability to adapt to this crisis thanks to “the enormous flexibility” of their factories. Have remained always open and operational within the regular regimeTherefore, the effect of this situation has been on some options that are occasionally limited.

Another premium German brand, Mercedes-Benz, ensures that you have not modified specifically its production process. “Our effort is more focused on adapt our processes and try to serve the client and provide real solutions as soon as possible in these circumstances ”, sources from the star’s brand state.

You wait on the purchase

If vehicles cannot be produced normally in factories, the flow of product to dealers is also affected. Of course, it depends on whether the buyer chooses a model that the brand has in stock or it has to be ordered from the factory, as recognized by Mercedes-Benz and Ford themselves.

Ford, one of the brands with the longest industrial roots in Valencia, ensures that it has vehicles in stock. In case of having to place an order, the situation depends a lot on the model. The American firm has prioritized the latest releases so in many cases he is able to deliver the cars within a reasonable time even if they are not in stock.

Vehicles produced at the Ford Almussafes factory.  EE

Vehicles produced at the Ford Almussafes factory. EE

Delivery time, remark Nissan, “At the moment not much has changed because we have been flexible when adapting to the situation and prioritizing those models with more demand, in the case of Spain Qashqai, Juke and LEAF”.

In the case of the giant Stellantis, “Our teams are mobilized to drive our manufacturing activity in this volatile environment and we have to adapt accordingly.” “Despite our daily effort to deliver to our customers in the best possible situation, we could find ourselves with longer delivery times for some models and we regret the possible effects,” he admits.

Like all brands, BMW insists that and a customer requests the vehicle from production, the term depends on the model. For example, illustrates, in general, a BMW 1 Series manufactured in Germany: it would be available to deliver to the customer in approximately From months. On the other hand, a BMW X5 produced in the United States, that period would be approximately threefour months.

Currently, the BMW Group’s strategy is work more on production and less in stock. “The goal is for our client to have ‘the power to choose’ the vehicle that best suits their needs and tastes; eConsequently, some models have seen their term increased as a result of the adjustment process ”, German company sources comment.

Of curious cases to end. Aston MartinAs explained to Invertia from the brand, it benefits from being a small company and is less affected by large orders and the problems that affect large manufacturers in the massive and premium space. “Any problem that has arisen, we have been able to mitigate it and we continue to monitor the situation closely,” they assure.

Mazda highlights that under normal conditions, and despite the fact that its cars are manufactured in Japan and North America, it has a logistics system that allows the average waiting times between order and registration to be among the lowest in the market and that allows the car to be registered in a few weeks. However, he admits that when there are cases in which the customer asks for something very special that is not in stock, and must be ordered from the factory, that period can be extended to two or three months.

Regarding the effect of the semiconductor crisis, the impact on Mazda’s availability in Spain has been “very limited and in general we have not experienced significant delays.” “In the coming weeks we may experience some delays in one or two specific models but it is difficult to make an estimate in the future, as the situation evolves almost daily. Our stock situation is generally acceptable “, concludes the Japanese brand.

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