SAN FRANCISCO — Automakers including General Motors, Ford and Hyundai predict a near two-year chip constraint will ease in the second half of 2022, but automotive chipmakers, on the other hand, expect the recovery to take longer.
While reporting quarterly earnings in recent days, GM CEO Mary Barra projected the semiconductor shortage would diminish in the second half, Ford forecast a significant improvement in the second half after a first-quarter low in vehicle sales, and Hyundai predicted chip supplies would return to normal levels in the third quarter of this year.
But leading automotive chipmakers such as NXP and Infineon forecast a supply squeeze to persist despite production increases.
The differing outlooks on the most pressing issue facing the auto industry prolongs uncertainty about its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and risks hampering efforts to transition to new, chip-intensive technologies such as electrification and safety and driving-assistant features.
The chip shortage will cost the global auto industry $210 billion in revenues and lost production of 7.7 million vehicles in 2021 alone, consultant AlixPartners estimated in September.
But the tide is definitely turning, according to the automakers.
Tesla Inc., which managed tight chip supplies last year through multiple strategies such as writing new software to handle changes in chips, expects the shortage to last through this year before easing next year.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk told analysts on an earnings call last month that the shortage was not a long-term issue, with factories increasing capacity and automakers guilty of panic buying of chips, which slowed the supply chain.
Chip maker Qualcomm was optimistic.
"I do think that a lot of our peers along with us are prioritizing the auto business and shipping as much as you can," Akash Palkhiwala, Qualcomm chief financial officer, told Reuters.