Ongoing global silicon shortage forces Jaguar Land Rover to suspend operations in Birmingham and Liverpool from next Monday
The global shortage of computer chips is continuing to impact industries around the world, with the car sector being one of the worst hit.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is the UK’s largest carmaker, and it has announced it is to halt production at its Halewood (Liverpool) and Castle Bromwich (Birmingham) facilities from next Monday, for at least a week in order to assess supplies.
JLR is the latest car maker to announce a production suspension. Stellantis announced this week it would replace digital speedometers with more old-fashioned analogue speedometers in its Peugeot 308 models, because of the chip shortages.
JLR is owned by the Indian conglomerate Tata and the car maker confirmed to the Guardian newspaper it would have a “limited period of non-production” at its plants in Castle Bromwich and Halewood – where together nearly 6,000 workers are employed – starting on Monday.
The car maker blamed the semi-conductor shortages caused by the global Coronavirus pandemic.
It is understood the shutdown is scheduled to last at least a week, although JLR will continue to monitor its chip supply before committing to a reopening date.
“Like other automotive manufacturers, we are currently experiencing some Covid-19 supply chain disruption, including the global availability of semi-conductors, which is having an impact on our production schedules and our ability to meet global demand for some of our vehicles,” the firm said in a statement.
“As a result, we have adjusted production schedules for certain vehicles which means that our Castle Bromwich and Halewood manufacturing plants will be operating a limited period of non-production from Monday 26th April.”
Honda, which is closing down its Swindon plant, is among UK manufacturers to have blamed the shortage of parts for production delays.
Mercedes-Benz maker, Daimler, said on Thursday that 18,500 workers at two German plants would be moved to shortened hours to cope with the shortages.
Last week French carmaker Renault sought to extend furlough for 9,000 staff after it extended the partial idling of three of its four factories in Spain until the end of September.
It said the industry was at the peak of its difficulties in securing chip supplies and warned disruption could continue for months over the summer.
Last month General Motors confirmed it would again extend production cuts at three North American plants, and added a fourth to the list of factories hit.
That came after GM had already extended its production cuts at three North American factories.
Indeed, so serious is the issue that the US government has become involved.
US President Joe Biden signed an executive order on 24 February to tackle a number of pressing shortages for four critical products.
That included semiconductor chips, electric vehicle batteries and rare earth minerals.
President Biden also announced he would seek $37 billion in funding to ‘supercharge’ chip manufacturing in the United States, and try to lessen its reliance on chip manufacturing in Asian factories.