WOLFSBURG (dpa-AFX) - Shortages of semiconductors have hit Europe's largest automaker Volkswagen hard since the end of 2020 - but now the group is cautiously giving the all-clear. At the moment, there are no longer any acute bottlenecks, purchasing board member Dirk Große-Loheide said in Wolfsburg on Wednesday. "In the last six to eight months, we have not lost a single vehicle in production because of semiconductors." At the moment, he said, the company was still working through the backlog of orders that had accumulated in 2021 and 2022 due to the parts shortage. "Otherwise, we are back to the normal level before the crisis."

However, this does not mean the bottleneck is over, Große-Loheide added. "The semiconductor crisis is not over, but we now have the situation under control." For example, he said, Volkswagen has begun sourcing critical chips directly from the manufacturer, rather than leaving this to its suppliers as in the past. This doesn't always involve expensive components, said Skoda purchasing board member Karsten Schnake, who also heads the group-wide semiconductor task force at Volkswagen. "It may well be a relevant component that costs only a few cents."

He said direct contracts have been signed with ten chip manufacturers, including Infineon and NXP, since the end of 2022. The company is now also in direct talks with their contract manufacturers, including global market leader TSMC from Taiwan. In addition, at the beginning of 2023 VW began to build up stocks of particularly critical chips. According to Große-Loheide, this is always cheaper than stopping the assembly lines in the event of a supply bottleneck, as was regularly the case in 2021 and 2022.

The semiconductor task force headed by Schnake is nevertheless to continue its work. Because of the growing demand for semiconductors in all sectors, certain chips are likely to remain in short supply in the future, Große-Loheide said. In addition, with electrification and autonomous driving, the demand from the automotive industry is also increasing./fjo/DP/stw