The production of the two factories will be stopped until July 1st. In Sochaux, the judgment already dates from June 15. For Rennes, this took place last night. “We are stopping tonight until July 1 inclusive due to the semiconductor crisis. Since the beginning of April we have been able to get by and work at full speed”told AFP the communication department of the Rennes-La Janais plant.
Factories must adapt to the situation and certain shortages after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine had led to temporary shutdowns to avoid stock shortages. Here, it is the semiconductors that are in question. However, the Peugeot 5008 and Citroën C5 Aircross which are produced in Rennes, or the Peugeot 3008 and 5008 which are produced in Sochaux work well commercially and are “priority” in the production of the ex-PSA. That is to say if the shortage is great.
Training, maintenance, everything is good to occupy the free time
To adapt, the Directions are launching training courses, which means that the time of the stoppage is not “wasted”. Maintenance is also advanced. This also makes it possible not to lose wages for employees. However, temporary workers suffer, and some employees are put into partial activity with only 84% of the salary.
In Sochaux, an estimated 12,000 vehicles lost production due to this shutdown. The big question is: why is this semiconductor crisis still not over? In fact, the factories are at full capacity and creating new ones does not happen in a month or two. Automotive specialists and players like Oliver Zipse, CEO of BMW, believe that we will have to wait until at least 2023 to see a real improvement in the supply of chips.
Factories supply their customers according to the agreed functions they may have, and some according to nationality. As a result, delivery times for new vehicles are getting longer and longer. There is obviously still the solution of choosing a vehicle “on the park”, but this requires making more or less significant concessions (finish, color, engine, etc.).
Why not simplify the vehicles? Because it pays more
Why didn’t automakers simplify vehicles (there was a time when needle dials were put in place of LED screens, but that’s over)? In fact, selling a simple vehicle with a limited number of chips does not interest car manufacturers that much. They prefer to sell less, but sell posh vehicles loaded with electronics. Indeed, the margins generated on these vehicles are higher.
Selling less, but better, allows manufacturers to post good margins and partly maintain profits. That the customer toasts does not seem too important. This shortage of chips is also beginning to weigh heavily on the second-hand market. Indeed, some buyers who cannot or do not want to wait for new items, fall back on second-hand goods, increasing demand in an identical supply. This strengthens the prices.
The shortage of semiconductors continues to seriously disrupt automobile production. Sochaux and Rennes are shut down for several days. The end of this shortage is not expected before 2023. But there would be other solutions to fix things, if buyers wanted them.