Porsche CEO warns of ‘very serious’ global chip shortage

by Buzz Street Times

Porsche’s chief executive warned on Monday that the German luxury automaker’s daily operations could be affected over the coming months by a “very serious” global semiconductor shortage.

“The semiconductor topic is a very serious one because the whole industry is affected because of the big demand of consumer electronics and the faster return of the automotive sector,” Oliver Blume, chief executive of Porsche, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Monday.

“We could be affected every day, so we watch very deeply (over) the next days and months what we can do. We have to relax short term and look for measures long term.”

His comments come after a sudden upsurge in global car sales late last year coincided with a shortfall of essential chip components. The supply shortages brought assembly lines of the chip-reliant car industry to a standstill and halted the production of hundreds of thousands of vehicles worldwide.

Demand for these chips, or semiconductors, has soared during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers snapped up games consoles, laptops and TVs during a period of reduced mobility.

Now, many of these products — including certain Chromebook laptops and next-generation consoles like the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 — are either sold out or subject to lengthy shipping times.

Supply chains

The chip shortages have hit the automotive sector especially hard, analysts say, because of the industry’s “just-in-time” supply chain, which the car industry has relied upon for decades in a bid to preserve capital.

When asked whether Porsche could be forced to reconsider this supply chain model, Blume replied: “Yes. That is very important for the future to think about the supply chain.”

“We have to think about what storage do we need really for all these stocks. We have to be more flexible and we have to plan more deeply the immediate capacities.”

Shares of Porsche, listed on Germany’s Xetra Dax index, are up 15% year-to-date. The stock price is little changed over the last 12 months.

— CNBC’s Sam Shead contributed to this report.

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