The auto industry has been rather badly hit by the ongoing global semiconductor shortage. Now, it’s reported that Toyota, Ford and Stellantis are facing further production cuts due to the lack of chips.

Stellantis – the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Groupe PSA merger that was born this year – said that its highly profitable pick-up trucks in the US market are affected. The world’s fourth largest automaker said it will build and hold for final assembly its Ram 1500 Classic trucks in the US and Mexico. When chips become available, the vehicles will be completed and shipped out to dealers.

The action will last “a number of weeks,” a Stellantis spokeswoman said without revealing how many units will be affected, Reuters reported. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said earlier this month the problems might not be fully resolved by the second half of 2021, as some other carmakers have expected, describing supplies as the “big unknown” for 2021 revenue.

Ford is also doing the build, hold and wait for chips thing. Last Thursday, the Blue Oval said it would assemble its flagship F-150 pick-up truck and Edge SUV in North America without certain parts and then hold them “for a number of weeks” until they can be completed, affecting “thousands” of units. It added that production at Louisville, Kentucky, and Cologne, Germany would be idled.

On Saturday, Ford said that it will idle its Ohio, US assembly plant this week, while the Kentucky truck plant will only work two of three shifts. Both factories will return to full production the week of March 29. The Detroit carmaker said that this is all part of a prior forecast that the chip shortage could hit 2021 profits by US$1 billion to US$2.5 billion.

Over in Europe, Toyota’s Czech unit said that it will halt production at its plant in the east of Prague for 14 days from today (March 22) due to the chip shortage. The Kolin plant rolls out the Aygo city car for Europe and has a 200,000 per annum capacity. Part of production is for Toyota’s European ally PSA (Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1), which had co-owned the factory until last year.

It is said that the chip shortage is a result of a confluence of factors. North American car plants were shut for two months last year when the Covid-19 pandemic was raging, and canceled chip orders. This coincided with a surge in demand for chips from the consumer electronics industry, as people stayed home and played games. Now, with the steady flow interrupted, carmakers must compete for chips.

The auto companies have said that they will prioritise chips for their most profitable vehicles, but as the impact on Stellantis’ Ram trucks shows (Ford and GM had also reported full-size truck production issues), the situation is getting worse, as the big trucks bring in big profits. Locally, even Perodua is affected by chip supply, so this is an industry-wide global issue.