The impact of the global semiconductor shortage is proving to be a greater challenge for automakers than the pandemic.
While many (if not all) car manufacturers have already adapted to the new normal, the semiconductor shortage is forcing carmakers to slow down production. Modern vehicles easily use over 1000 chips. As the list of features gets longer, more semiconductors are needed. That's why if you placed an order for a variety of vehicles in local showrooms, there's a possibility that the unit won't be available if it's a very popular model. Simply put, supply can't keep up with demand.
Maserati is the latest automaker to publicly state that they are feeling the impact. The Italian luxury automaker just announced that they will have to push back the reveal of one of their most anticipated models, the Grecale, because of the shortage.
Originally they had slated the Grecale's premiere to November 16, 2021. But now Maserati is saying that they'll have to delay to Spring 2022; that means anywhere between late March to mid-June. Maserati announced that because since they will be unable to meet global demand, they may as well delay the launch until they can.
As with any modern vehicle, the Grecale will make use of a lot of electronics in its assembly, hence the delay. We expect a lot of advanced driver aids, a great connectivity package, and a lot of intelligent safety features. and will reportedly even have a hybrid (probably mild) as well as a fully electric version. The company actually confirmed that because they mentioned in the statement that the Grecale will have “ground-breaking contents, particularly in the connectivity and human-machine interface areas”.
The Grecale's significance to Maserati's presence worldwide cannot be understated. They were a bit late to the luxury crossover segment with the Levante, but the vehicle has plenty of potential as global consumers began to gravitate towards SUVs.
In the Philippines, the trend is the same. The Levante easily accounts for the majority of the sales of the Philippine Maserati distributor/dealer versus sedans like the Ghibli. The Grecale is supposed to continue that push towards SUVs for Maserati; think of it like how Porsche expanded their SUV range from just the larger Cayenne to the smaller Macan.
There are many causes behind the chip shortage, one of which is the pandemic itself that forced factory closures because of restrictions while at the same time increasing computer sales for WFH setups. There were also various factors such as a fire that gutted a major Japanese supplier, a drought in Taiwan that hampered production, and even the ongoing trade war between the US and China.
The global auto industry accounts for about 15% of chip requirements, while about 50% is personal electronics.