Porsche boss warns of “very critical” international chip shortages

The CEO of Porsche warned on Monday that the daily operations of the German luxury car maker could be affected by a “very serious” global semiconductor shortage in the coming months.

“The semiconductor issue is very serious, as the entire industry is affected by the great demand for consumer electronics and the faster return of the automotive sector,” said Oliver Blume, CEO of Porsche, on Monday to CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe”.

“We could be affected every day, so we will be watching very closely over the next few days and months what we can do. We have to relax in the short term and look for long-term measures.”

His comments come after a sudden surge in global auto sales late last year that coincided with a lack of essential chip components. The delivery bottlenecks brought the assembly lines of the chip-dependent automotive industry to a standstill and stopped the production of hundreds of thousands of vehicles worldwide.

Demand for these chips or semiconductors has increased during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers bought game consoles, laptops and televisions in an era of limited mobility.

Many of these products – including certain Chromebook laptops and next-generation consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 – are either sold out or have long lead times.

Supply chains

According to analysts, the chip shortage has hit the automotive industry particularly hard because of the industry’s “just-in-time” supply chain that the automotive industry has relied on for decades to save capital.

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

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

The Porsche shares listed in the German Xetra Dax index have risen by 15% since the beginning of the year. The share price has barely changed in the past 12 months.

– CNBC’s Sam Shead contributed to this report.

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