Makers

The global chip shortage is leaving car makers stuck in the slow lane

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This May, car manufacturers produced less than 55,000 vehicles, only half as much as two years ago.


Monty Rakusen / Getty Images

The production of cars in the UK has more than halved compared to the same period before the COVID-19 pandemic, due at least in part to an on-going shortage of chips that are needed to power everything from engine management systems to in-car entertainment. 

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), this May car manufacturers produced almost 55,000 vehicles in the UK – a number that, at first glance, seems healthy in comparison to the meagre 5,314 cars that were produced in the same month of the previous year.  

But 2020’s statistics have to be put in context: with the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly gathering pace, factory lines came to a halt as most manufacturers decided to close their facilities altogether, in line with government guidance.

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Car makers demand smooth trade links ‘closer to home’ after Australia agreement

Car makers have called for smooth links “closer to home” following the UK’s free trade deal with Australia.



a person standing next to a car engine: Car makers have called for smooth links ‘closer to home’ following the UK’s free trade deal with Australia (Martin Rickett/PA)


© Martin Rickett
Car makers have called for smooth links ‘closer to home’ following the UK’s free trade deal with Australia (Martin Rickett/PA)

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show the UK sold 20,000 cars to Australia in 2019, compared with 578,000 to the EU.

A Downing Street statement claimed the agreement with Australia means car makers in the Midlands and northern England will see “tariffs of up to 5% cut, boosting demand for their exports”.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Australia is an important growth market and the industry welcomes the agreement in principle of a trade deal between the two countries.

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“If tariffs can be

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Tesla Is Turning Cars Into Phones. Other Car Makers Better Catch On.

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Courtesy Aptiv

Cars are slowly becoming less about hardware and more about software. That shift has the power to change the automotive industry as much as any other trend, including vehicle electrification and autonomous driving. Automotive investors should start paying more attention to software.

If a “software defined vehicle,” as the industry calls it, is difficult to grasp, all consumers need to do is look at their phones. Then, perhaps, visit their grandparents.

Phones used to be all about hardware. A rotary phone from Ma Bell didn’t have a lot of features constantly updating. Innovations were push-button numbers and extra long cords. But a new iPhone from

Apple

(AAPL) regularly has new apps and operating systems making it go a little bit better day by day.

Cars are still in the rotary phone stage—or perhaps the flip phone stage. But that is changing.

Tesla

(TSLA)

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Japan car makers scramble to assess impact of Renesas auto chip-plant fire

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota, Nissan, Honda and other Japanese automakers scrambled on Monday to assess the production impact of a fire at a Renesas Electronics automotive chip plant that could aggravate a global semiconductor shortage.

“We are gathering information and trying to see if this will affect us or not,” a Honda spokesman said. Other car makers including Toyota and Nissan said they too were assessing the situation.

The effect on car makers could spread beyond Japan to other auto companies in Europe and the United States because Renesas has around a 30% global share of microcontroller unit chips used in cars.

Renesas said it will take at least a month to restart production on a 300mm wafer line at its Naka plant in northeast Japan after an electrical fault caused machinery to catch fire on Friday and poured smoke into the sensitive clean room.

Two-thirds of production at the

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