© Reuters.File picture: In September, at the Braunschweig Higher District Court in Germany, Volkswagen AG represented the owner of Volkswagen in the first hearing of the consumer group class action against the diesel engine emissions cheating scandal. You can see the Volkswagen logo at the scene of the first hearing
Authors: Nick Carey, Christoph Steitz and Giulio Piovaccari
LONDON (Reuters)-The two largest automakers said on Thursday that a global shortage of semiconductor chips caused Volkswagen (DE:) and Stellantest to suspend production of 1.4 million vehicles in the third quarter, although both companies reported Early signs of improvement.
Volkswagen (OTC:), Europe’s largest automaker and the world’s second-largest automaker, lowered its delivery forecasts, suppressed sales forecasts, and warned that it would cut costs because it reported lower quarterly operating profit expectations.
The German company stated that its car production has decreased by about 800,000 vehicles, a decrease of about 35% compared to the same period in 2020.
Stellaantis, the world’s fourth-largest automaker, expects a 14% decline in quarterly revenue after chip shortages have reduced its expected quarterly production by 30%, or 600,000 vehicles.
Stellantis Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer reported that there was a “modest” improvement in chip supply in October, and this situation is expected to continue into the fourth quarter.
But he added that supply chain issues mean that it is difficult to predict the scarcity of automotive semiconductors, which has plagued the industry for most of the year.
“Semiconductor visibility remains a problem for the industry,” Palmer said.
Automakers that closed their factories during the COVID-19 pandemic last year found themselves in competition with the huge consumer electronics industry for chip supply.
The grunts in the supply chain, from a fire in a chip manufacturing plant in Japan to the coronavirus lockdown in Malaysia, are at the core of global chip supply and will only make the problem worse.
The shortage of chips used in various fields, from brake sensors, power steering to entertainment systems, has caused global automakers to cut or stop production, push up the price of new cars, and provide opportunities in the context of strong consumer demand.
As of the end of September, Stellatis’ new car inventory has fallen by more than 42% year-on-year.
Palmer told analysts that “in view of the volatility of the market,” Stellatis currently does not expect a significant increase in production in 2022, but will pay more attention to maintaining price levels while coping with rising raw material costs.
He stated that the loss of production could make Stellattis’ 2021 revenue “slightly lower” than his previous forecast.
Arno Antlitz, chief financial officer of Volkswagen, said that the shortage of chips “let us clearly see that we are not yet flexible enough to deal with fluctuations in capacity utilization.”
Antelitz told reporters: “Although the visibility of the situation is still unpredictable, we have seen chip supply begin to stabilize, and we expect “main financial conditions will improve in the fourth quarter.”
Volkswagen reported an operating profit of 2.8 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in the third quarter, down 12% year-on-year and lower than Refinitiv’s 2.99 billion forecast. However, the company’s goal is to surpass Tesla (NASDAQ:) in the middle of the decade and become the world’s leading electric vehicle (EV) seller, confirming its 2021 operating profit margin target of 6.0-7.5%.
Bernstein analysts wrote: “Obviously, the current volatility clearly shows that Volkswagen’s fixed costs are unusually high, especially the performance of the Volkswagen brand, which seems to also bear most of the semiconductor-related shortages.” Arndt Ellinghorst said Writes in the customer report.
Stellantis was formed by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and French company PSA at the beginning of the year, and has confirmed its adjusted operating profit margin for the full year of approximately 10%.
Other major automakers, including General Motors (NYSE:) and Renault (PENNSYLVANIE:), quarterly performance is also affected by chip tightening.