Semiconductor crisis: Jaguar Land Rover halts two UK factories

Halewood and Castle Bromwich closed for at least a week as chip shortage continues to impact car industry

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is pausing operations at two of its largest production facilities for at least a week due to a shortage of crucial semiconductor computer chips. 

As first reported by The Guardian, the manufacturer's Castle Bromwich and Halewood factories will implement a "limited period of non-production" from Monday. Operations could restart seven days later, depending on the state of semiconductor supply. 

Affected models include the Castle Bromwich-built Jaguar XE, XF and F-Type; and the Halewood-built Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque.

The Solihull facility that builds the Range Rover and Jaguar F-Pace will remain in operation, as will the Land Rover Defender factory in Slovakia and JLR plants in Brazil and China. 

A spokesman for the brand told Autocar: "Like other automotive manufacturers, we're currently experiencing some Covid-19 [related] supply-chain disruption, including the global availability of semiconductors, which is having an impact on our production schedules and our ability to meet global demand for some of our vehicles.  

"As a result, we've 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 26 April. Manufacturing continues at our Solihull plant.  

"We're working closely with affected suppliers to resolve the issues and minimise the impact on customer orders wherever possible.” 

The semiconductor crisis has been affecting global vehicle production for several months now, following a surge in demand for smartphones, tablets and personal computers at the height of the pandemic. As car manufacturers mothballed production lines due to lockdowns and consumers switched to home working, semiconductor supply was almost wholly diverted to the technology sector, and the trend has yet to be tangibly reversed.

Last month, Autocar reported that a number of manufacturers were urgently seeking to overhaul their components supply-chains as a workaround to ensure continued production. Analysis company IHS Markit said at the time that the shortage could cut global production by nearly 700,000 vehicles year-on-year, although the final figure could be even higher.

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