The Russian automotive industry is facing a shortage of microchips

The Russian automotive industry is facing a shortage of microchips


Kommersant.- Russian electronics manufacturers for the automotive industry are faced with a shortage of microchips, which was previously sufficient for the world markets. The aforementioned microcircuits are used for Era-Glonass systems, tachographs, instrument control panels, engine control units, body electronics and multimedia systems. Even the buttons on the steering wheel need microchips in order to operate, as told by the head of the Car Components Committee of AEB Alexei Belyaev. As the general director of NPP Itelma Yevgeny Gorelik told Kommersant, the manufacturers are experiencing a very high level of components deficit and are forced to adjust their operations in accordance with the actual availability. As reported by Kommersant, another major Russian electronics manufacturer has also informed car manufacturers about the shortage of microchips.

The worldwide deficit of microchips is being experienced since spring 2020, in connection with the reduction of production by car manufacturers, due to the coronavirus. The industry is currently not ready for a sharp recovery in volumes, Yevgeny Gorelik believes.

“The production cycle of microcircuits reaches half a year or more and the product range is enormous. There are currently no microchips in the warehouses of manufacturers” – he said.

As estimated by IHS Markit, the production of approximately 1 million automobiles will be postponed worldwide (around 5% of the total production) during the first quarter, due to the insufficiency of semiconductors. The demand for microchips is not likely to be met at least until the second half of 2021, as reported by Financial Times newspaper.

The problem is also experienced by Santel Navigation, which supplies ERA-GLONASS devices to the joint venture of Daimler and KAMAZ, Ford Otosan, Isuzu, Chery, Belji and other car manufacturers. “We don’t purchase chips from suppliers, but a printed circuit board of the Era-Glonass terminal, manufactured according to our documentation, where about 200-250 main elements have already been soldered, however, currently our order is only covered by about 30-40%” – as told by the general director Nikolai Borisenko. As told by NP Glonass to Kommersant, complications started in the company in November 2020: “The normal supply period of 3-4 monts has gone up to 6-9 months now and some orders are taken for as late as 2022”. The enterprise has stated that the Era-Glonass device manufacturers are currently in tough negotiation processes with car manufacturers, concerning the postponement of deliveries. It’s prohibited to sell vehicles without the Era-Glonass system in Russia.

BMW admits that the majority of manufacturers have suffered from the insufficient supply of semiconductors at the end of 2020, however, managed to adapt to the situation rapidly. Avtovaz, on the other hand, has stated that a special team has been created for the monitoring of the circumstances. Daimler also keeps a close eye on the situation, in close cooperation with the suppliers and adapt production programmes if needed. The situation is also kept under control at Stellantis, emphasising that there are no risks concerning the production of Peugeot, Citroen and Opel. As stated by Sollers, the manufacturer has not faced any problems yet, however, the risks are monitored due to the worldwide problems. The electronics suppliers of Sollers are as follows; Bosch (UAZ / Ford Transit), as well as Continental, Valeo and Visteon (Ford Transit).

As told by Vladimir Bespalov from VTB Kapital, the component stocks of car manufacturers are organised for one to two months on average. Bespalov is of the opinion that the shortage so far could not have a direct impact on factories in the Russian Federation, both due to small market volumes and due to the fact that global offices are redistributing supplies in favour of the popular models.

The shift from one microcircuit supplier to another is extremely difficult in the automotive industry, according to Yevgeny Gorelik. Nikolai Borisenko adds that in the case of Era-Glonass, the certification of the terminal lasts four to five months and the vehicle receives a permit to enter the market (Vehicle Type Approval) only on the basis of the relevant results.

Alexei Belyaev believes that today’s uncovered order statements can create danger in the long run. TSMC of Taiwan is the largest microcircuit manufacturer in the world, with a market share of 55%. “TSMC held 70% of the global microcontroller market in 2020, which amounted to only 3% of the turnover of the company in contrast” – he said. “As a comparison, 48% of the sales of TSMC was formed of microcircuits for smartphones. It’s not hard to guess where the priorities of the company lie”.