Tesla, BMW warn of further chip shortages in 2021

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LONDON, Aug. 3 - BMW and Stellantis became the latest major carmakers to warn on Tuesday that the global semiconductor chip shortage that has bedeviled the industry this year will drag on throughout 2021 and beyond hitting production and sales.

Carmakers, forced to slow down plant operations by COVID - 19 Pandemic last year faces stiff competition from the sprawling consumer electronics industry for chip deliveries, hit by a series of supply chain disruptions during the pandemic.

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

Starving for chips, carmakers focused production on higher-margin models and have benefited from lower vehicle prices amid lower inventories for consumers.

Stellantis chief financial officer Richard Palmer said on Tuesday the world's largest carmaker did not expect chip supply to improve before the fourth quarter, with a total projected production loss of around 1.4 million vehicles in 2021.

BMW, which has so far been relatively less affected by the chip shortage than some of its peers thanks to strong relations with its suppliers, warns that the second half will be more difficult for the German luxury carmaker.

The longer supply bottlenecks last, the more tense the situation is likely to be, BMW chief financial officer Nicolas Peter said in a statement. We expect production restrictions to continue in the second half of the year and thus a corresponding impact on sales volumes.

Other carmakers from Tesla to Ford Motor Co have warned that for the foreseeable future a lack of chips is the main speed bump.

While we are making cars at full speed, the electric car chip shortage scenario remains quite serious, Elon Musk told Tesla CEO last week.

The German chipmaker Infineon Technologies also painted a grim picture on Tuesday, saying it was battling extreme tightness in its markets as the latest wave of COVID 19 cases disrupts production in Asia and inventories hit all-time lows.

The rebound of global car markets continues to be hampered by acute shortage difficulties across the entire value chain, Infineon CEO Reinhard Ploss told analysts. All in all, it will take time for us to recover from the equilibrium of supply and demand.

For our views, this will take until well into 2022, Ploss added.

The Ifo Economic Research institute said on Tuesday that the German automotive industry and its suppliers faced the worst chip supply shortage in 30 years. A poll showed that 83% of companies affected, up from 65% in April.

This has led to production stoppages, Ifo researcher Oliver Falck said. The shortage of semiconductors will still exist for some time to come.

On Sunday, French car lobby CCFA-PFA warned that the new chip shortage and a global surge in Coronavirus infections are hurting the prospects for a strong rebound by the French car market.