Some of the world’s biggest carmakers, including Toyota and Volkswagen, have been forced to halt or slow production amid a global shortage of semiconductor computer chips.
The component, which is crucial for vehicle infotainment systems and driver aids, is in particularly high demand following a pandemic-driven surge for consumer electronic devices, including games consoles, laptops and tablets.
A Volkswagen spokesman told Autocar: “So far, we haven’t quantified the full volume impact as we continue to work intensively with our suppliers to minimise shortages.
“However, we expect the ramifications to continue at least in the first quarter, with potential to recover any lost volume later in the year.
“Another issue we’re dealing with is the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it’s affecting not just our manufacturing operations but also the crucially important supply chain.
“Where employees or supplier staff are shielding or ill, that is of course resulting in pressure on productivity and supply – although of course our main focus is on protecting our own and our suppliers’ staff.
“Like many UK companies, we made intensive preparations for Brexit, including ensuring a healthy quantity of stock in the country to cover any short-term logistic issues.”