Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is set to temporarily halt production at two of its main UK factories due to a shortage of computer chips, the most recent sign of the difficulties faced by the global auto industry during the pandemic.
The company, which has the UK’s largest auto manufacturing plant, confirmed to The Guardian that it will have a “limited period of non-production” at its factories in Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands and Halewood in the West Midlands. Merseyside from Monday.
It is understood that the shutdown is expected to last at least a week, although the company will continue to monitor its chip supply before committing to a reopening date.
The shutdown highlights the struggles of automakers around the world to secure a supply of computer chips, also known as semiconductors, amid a global shortage that has affected companies ranging from Microsoft and Sony to manufacturers. from Xbox and PlayStation game consoles, to the phone maker. Samsung and the cryptocurrency “miners” who need computer chips to solve puzzles that earn them bitcoin and other digital assets.
The auto industry is accustomed to managing lean “just in time” supply chains that minimize the amount of money tied up in factory warehouses. However, the global nature of the chip shortage has put a strain on automakers as they compete directly with tech companies for supply.
“The auto industry doesn’t matter much in the semiconductor industry,” complained a source from another automaker.
French automaker Renault said on Wednesday the industry was at peak of difficulty securing the supply of chips, but warned the disruption could continue for months into the summer.
JLR is still considering whether workers at affected factories will benefit from the government’s leave program, which pays up to 80% of workers’ wages if they are unable to work due to Covid-19. The program is expected to run until the end of September.
The models affected by the temporary shutdown will be the Jaguar XE and XF executive cars and the F-Type sports car, all built at Castle Bromwich, as well as Halewood’s Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque.
Manufacturing will continue at the JLR plant in Solihull, which manufactures various models of Range Rover as well as the Jaguar F-Pace SUV. JLR’s international factories in Slovakia – where its new Defender is manufactured – in Brazil and China are not yet affected.
A spokesperson for JLR said: “Like other automakers, we are currently experiencing supply chain disruptions from Covid-19, including the global availability of semiconductors, which is impacting our production schedules and our ability to meet global demand for some of our Vehicles.
“We are working closely with affected suppliers to resolve issues and minimize the impact on customer orders where possible.”