BMW has been largely untouched by the crisis so far, but like other manufacturers was forced to close the Mini production line in Oxford at short notice due to supply of semiconductors drying up.
The situation has now spilled out into a dispute between the company and worker’s union Unite, as a result of BMW’s refusal to use the government’s furlough scheme to pay workers during a succession of production stoppages. According to the Oxford Mail, BMW has threatened to withold workers’ pay unless Unite agrees to new contract terms, which the union argues are unfavourable for the workers.
In response to a Unite statement which condemned BMW’s decision to not use the furlough scheme, a spokesman for the manufacturer told the Oxford mail: “BMW Group was surprised to read the press release from Unite, as the company is in advanced negotiations with the union regarding potential arrangements to ensure that the monthly base pay of associates is maintained during these current stand downs, including those that have already taken place.”
Nissan has reported a record annual loss of 150.65 billion yen, or around £981 million, attributed to production cuts caused by the pandemic partnered with the global shortage of semiconductors.
The shortage has been exacerbated over the last few months by a chip plant fire in Japan and blackouts in Texas, a hotspot for chip factories, according to Automotive News Europe. The shortage has also caused Nissan to delay its intended global expansion, halt production of the Note, and make output adjustments in the North American market last quarter.
“It’s very difficult to forecast what the shortage will be because we have all recognised the challenge, and we are all working hand-in-hand to rectify the situation,” said Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s chief operating officer. “This is not a one automotive manufacturer problem, this is a whole automotive industry challenge.”
Stellantis previously said that the outgoing Peugeot 308 would see out its production run with an analogue instrument cluster, rather than the digital set-up that was introduced as part of a facelift in 2020.