It seems the auto industry’s days of supply chain issues are certainly coming to a middle, as a resurgence of COVID-19 in China as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shuts down or limits production in factories around the globe.
It seems no automaker is safe from the disruptions. Ford, Tesla, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen have all had to adjust production schedules around shortages, according to Ars Technica:
VW was one of the first to be affected. In late February, the company announced that it was stopping production for four days at its factory in Zwickau, Germany, where the electric ID.4 crossover is built. VW announced a three-day halt at a factory in Dresden as well.
By early March, a leaked internal memo from Porsche revealed that the carmaker had also been affected and that production of all Porsche models would be delayed as a consequence.
BMW has also had problems, and it closed factories in Munich and Dingolfing in Germany, as well as Mini’s plant in Oxford, England. The main issue? Wiring harnesses.
“When you look at Ukraine, this wiring harness industry gives work to maybe 20,000 people,” said Frank Weber, BMW member of the board of management, development, during a roundtable on Wednesday. “For BMW, typically these are smaller wiring harnesses, like engine transmission wiring harness,” Weber explained. Only one model uses “a complete wiring harness [made] in Ukraine.”
It’s not just the fighting in Ukraine that is affecting production, however. While we may have mostly put COVID-19 in the background of our news cycle, the pandemic is still very much ongoing, affecting chip manufacturing as well as vehicle assembly. Ford is so sick of parking lots full of unfinished cars cluttering up metro Detroit that it is planning to ship vehicles without certain features with plans to install the missing chips at some point. Tesla’s Shanghai factory was forced to shutter for a few days due to worries over rising COVID-19 rates. Toyota and Volkswagen also had to shut down a factories already this year due to the virus.