Skip to main content

There aren’t enough computer chips, VW warns, and it’s impacting car shipments

Of all the COVID-19-related setbacks, a shortage of semiconductors was low on the list of issues anticipated by carmakers around the globe. And yet, Volkswagen cautioned that it’s facing production delays due to supply issues.

The German giant released a statement to explain it has to adjust production of every car built on its highly modular MQB platform in Europe, in China, and in North America. MQB underpins numerous nameplates, including the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf, the Volkswagen Atlas, the Audi A3, the Audi TT, plus several SEAT and Škoda models sold overseas. Bigger models (like the Touareg) and electric cars (like the ID.3) are on a different platform.

Semiconductors are found in a vast majority of new and late-model cars, where they’re part of a wide range of systems ranging from connectivity to electronic driving aids. While the global supply is normally relatively secure and stable, Volkswagen explained suppliers shifted their attention away from the automotive industry and towards consumer electronics earlier in 2020, when car sales nose-dived as a result of the global pandemic.

Car sales recovered more quickly than expected, especially in China, and suppliers are having a difficult time juggling demand from carmakers and from manufacturers of electronic devices, like laptops, tablets, and smartphones, which have been in hot demand in 2020 as millions are stuck at home due to lock-down orders. Volkswagen didn’t name the suppliers it purchases semiconductors from, but it pledged to resolve the situation as fast as possible.

“We have come through the crisis well so far, thanks to excellent procurement and production management. However, we are now feeling the effects of the global shortages in semiconductors. We do everything to keep production downtimes as low as possible so that we can deliver to our customers as quickly as possible,” explained Murat Aksel, the group’s board member for purchasing, in a statement.

Volkswagen is the only carmaker who has publicly acknowledged the shortage and its effects, but all of its peers and rivals put semiconductors in their cars; even the most basic models are computerized in 2020. Digital Trends asked Toyota and Ford if they’re experiencing similar issues, and we’ll update this story if we learn more.

Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
Kia EV3 vs Hyundai Ioniq 5: Can the EV3 take out Hyundai’s best EV?
White Kia EV3

The Kia EV3 has finally been announced, and it could well become the best low-cost electric car yet. The new EV keeps many of the design elements that I loved about the Kia EV9, but in a much smaller body and likely at a much lower price.

However, the Kia EV3 will go head-to-head with a number of other electric cars that we already consider to be the best in the lower-cost segment. One of those is the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which is loved for its stylish design, solid range, and superfast charging speed.

Read more
Jeep joins the EV party with the 600-horsepower Wagoneer S
Front view of a 2024 Jeep Wagoneer S driving on a city street.

After getting things rolling with plug-in hybrids, Jeeps’ electrification plans are picking up speed. Scheduled to reach dealerships this fall, the 2024 Jeep Wagoneer S is the brand’s first EV for North America.

The Wagoneer name is right up there with Wrangler and Grand Cherokee in Jeep lore. The original Jeep Wagoneer was one of the first truly civilized SUVs and became the namesake for a modern sub-brand encompassing the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, two leviathan gas guzzlers that went on sale as 2022 models. The Wagoneer S shares little with these SUVs besides a name.

Read more
The Kia EV9 is being built in Georgia — making it a whole lot cheaper
Kia EV9 GT-Line Three Quarters

Kia has officially kicked off production of the EV9 electric SUV in Georgia. That's big news for a number of reasons. First, it makes the EV9 the first EV to be assembled in Georgia. Second, it means more solid jobs in the U.S. And third, it means that the well-priced electric SUV is about to get even cheaper.

The reason for the price decrease is simple -- by moving production of the EV9 to Georgia from Korea, the SUV will now qualify for the federal EV tax credit, bringing the total price of the vehicle down by a hefty $7,500. It was already one of the more affordable electric SUVs, but the big rebate makes it even more enticing.

Read more