Renesas Electronics Corp.’s top executive warned that a global shortage of auto semiconductors may persist into the second half, joining other industry leaders in bracing for a chip crunch to snarl production of cars and gadgets well past the summer.
Industry giants from Continental to Innolux Corp. have in recent weeks warned of longer-than-anticipated deficits thanks to unprecedented COVID-era demand for everything from cars to game consoles and smartphones. Renesas is running its most critical plants at full capacity to try and meet demand but there was no way of telling when the market might balance out, CEO Hidetoshi Shibata told Bloomberg News.
“Supply will remain tight through the first half of the year,” Shibata said this week. “And the way things look now, the situation will continue into the second half. But it’s anyone’s guess.”
Chipmakers like Renesas and its partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. are at the forefront of a global effort to plug a shortfall in supply of chips, the building blocks of a plethora of consumer products. Carmakers got hit first in part because of poor inventory planning and are expected to miss out on $61 billion of sales this year alone.
Some analysts say shortages could get mostly ironed out in coming months. But the concern is that tight supply in certain segments -- such as in more mature semiconductors where it takes time to build capacity -- could eventually throttle the broader consumer electronics industry and jack up prices if it persists. Semiconductors are now near the top of official agendas from Washington to Brussels.