How to deal with the shortage of automobile semiconductors

🟩 production cuts in vehicle production in the short term

automakers have suspended their plants due to the shortage of semiconductors. it is said that the effects of this reduction in production will affect up to 5 million units worldwide. this is about 4 to 6% of new vehicle sales in 2021, which has a significant impact on the automotive industry as a whole.

the impact of the production cut amounted to us$110 billion( 1.2 trillion yen), and the loss lost by the automobile industry is significant. automakers are not good at reducing production in the short term, but there is a need for another long-term response.

🟩 stockpiling chips in the long run?

the automotive industry has a management approach called just-in-time to minimize inventory as much as possible. this is a very reasonable approach of “when and only what is needed”, but it is an industry where sudden orders and small orders are commonplace.

semiconductors have a very long manufacturing lead time, and some take three to four months from wafer input to completion. it is a product that is not suitable for just-in-time because it is not possible to do anything suddenly.

auto parts manufacturers that have experienced a semiconductor shortage seem to be beginning to think that it is important to have a certain inventory of chips.

then, the cause that the semiconductor shortage was caused is thought.

🟩 semiconductor shortage due to disaster

unfortunately, the repeated disasters affected the shortage of automotive semiconductors.

asahi kasei
october 2020 a fire broke out at a semiconductor factory in nobeoka city, miyazaki prefecture in asahi kasei. the chip used for audio, etc. was affected.

co., ltd. march 2021 a fire broke out on the 300mm wafer line at the renesas naka plant, mainly affected by microcontrollers for automobiles.

Samsung NXP Infineon
February 2021 An abnormal cold wave that hit Texas, USA caused a power shortage. A prolonged power outage disrupted the operation of a semiconductor plant in Texas, affecting semiconductors related to in-vehicle memory.
Such bad luck is difficult to predict, but production will be back in a few months, so you should take a short-term action. This time, there is a cause of the semiconductor shortage besides bad luck.

🟩 semiconductor shortage due to pandemic

The pandemic has lowered forecasts for semiconductor demand from a downfall in sales. Just coupled with demand, semiconductor manufacturers have allocated capacity to pc and tablet semiconductor manufacturing with canceled orders.
It is difficult to regain the capa that has been assigned to other chip production. There was also a fault in automakers that showed only short-term production prospects and orders.

🟩 summary

reduce production in the short term and respond to the shortage of automotive semiconductors with inventory in the long term

i think that the response is correct in inventory to suppress the impact of an unfortunate disaster. inventory alone will not be possible to respond to demand fluctuations. because strong parts manufacturers can save inventory, but manufacturers without power can’t. after all, the bottleneck of vehicle manufacturing is not solved, so no one gets it.

it is certain that the power relationship between manufacturers of automobiles, parts, and semiconductors will change in the wake of this semiconductor shortage. the key is whether we can turn it into a better supply chain. i hope that japanese manufacturers will not miss the changes.