Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will temporarily halt production at two of its major British factories due to a lack of computer chips, in the latest sign of the hardships faced by the global car industry during the pandemic.
The company, which has the UK’s largest carmaker, confirmed to the Guardian that it will have a “limited non-production period” at its factories in Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands and Halewood on Merseyside as of Monday.
It is understood the shutdown is scheduled to last at least a week, although the company will continue to check its chip supply before committing to a reopening date.
The shutdown underscores the struggles of automakers around the world to provide a supply of computer chips, also called semiconductors, amid a global shortage that has affected companies Microsoft and Sony, makers of the Xbox and PlayStation game consoles, to the phone maker. Samsung’s “miners” and cryptocurrency that need computer chips to solve puzzles that earn them bitcoin and other digital assets.
The automotive industry is accustomed to operating light “timely” supply chains, which minimize the amount of money contacted in factory warehouses. However, the global nature of the chip shortage has strained carmakers as they compete directly with ie technical supply companies.
“The auto industry isn’t worth much in the semiconductor industry,” a source complained at another carmaker.
On Wednesday, French carmaker Renault said the industry is on the brink of difficulties in securing a supply of chips, but warned that a disruption could last for months over the summer.
JLR is still considering whether employees in the affected factories will be included in the government’s plan, which pays up to 80% of workers ’wages if they are unable to work because of Covid-19. The plan will run until the end of September.
The models hit by the temporary stop will be the Jaguar XE and XF executive cars and the F-Type sports car, all built at Castle Bromwich, and Halewood’s Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque.
Manufacturing will continue at JLR’s Solihull factory, which produces various Range Rover models and the Jaguar F-Pace SUV. JLR’s international factories in Slovakia – where its new Defender is manufactured – Brazil and China have not yet been affected.
A JLR spokeswoman said: “Like other automakers, we are currently experiencing some disruption of Covid-19 supply, including the global availability of semiconductors, which affects our production schedules and our ability to meet global demand for some of our vehicles.
“We work closely with relevant suppliers to resolve issues and minimize the impact on customer orders wherever possible.”