With the cost of living up 7% from last year, the price of fuel at its highest ever per litre, and supermarket shelves being sparser than we’ve seen in a long time to due to driver shortages, it feels like we’re more than a little off kilter right now. We’re living in a strange post-COVID, post-BREXIT world, and it seems we’re all having to get used to a new normal whether we like it or not. Sadly, the motor industry is no stranger to shortages either, and in addition to the existing problems, there are now new factors having a big impact on car production.
Shortage of Semiconductor Chips Continues
As we all know by now, a lack of semiconductor chips has meant a huge drop in car production, with Sky News reporting a 41% decrease in February 2022 compared to the same month last year according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. “Around 61,657 cars were built in Britain last month, down from 105,008 in February 2021” the SMMT reports.
Shanghai Lockdown Affecting Production for Tesla and Others
Shanghai, a city with over 25,000 people, has been in a state of lockdown for the last 3 weeks, with all residents of the city on a strict ‘stay home’ order. Citizens have not been allowed to leave their homes except for mandatory COVID testing, and the government has been delivering rations of food, water, and other essentials directly to people’s homes to ensure everyone adheres to the strict rules. Of course, with everyone cooped up in their Shanghai apartments, no factories have been able to produce anything. Tesla is one big player that has had to cease operations until lockdown eases, which reportedly will be fairly soon but due to China’s ‘zero-COVID’ policy, there’s no saying how long this lockdown will last or if another one may commence in the future.
The lockdown has also of course impacted China’s car market as well, CNN Business reports. “Factories shut down, new model launches delayed and sales plunging. China’s huge car market has been thrown into disarray by the country’s latest Covid surge, with stringent lockdowns across several cities hitting vehicle production.”
No one really knows China’s plan to get people back to work or to life outside of lockdown, so all anyone can do is wait and see what happens in the coming weeks.
The War on Ukraine
Russia’s war on Ukraine has also impacted car production and “many key players across the global automotive industry have taken decisive action or been heavily impacted as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” a report from Autocar Business explains. “Several global manufacturers have halted deliveries to Russia, while others have been forced to pause production due to a lack of parts from Ukraine-based suppliers.”
A statement from Aston Martin read “as a global brand that exports products to both Ukraine and Russia, Aston Martin is closely monitoring the ongoing situation in Ukraine. Our primary concern is the safety and wellbeing of our partners and customers in Kyiv and their families, and we remain in close contact with our local dealer at this difficult time.”
With so many external factors affecting production, the whole auto industry is going through a tough time right now. Let’s hope we see a better and brighter 2023 that’s less about firefighting and more about exciting leaps forward in an innovate industry that we all love.