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World Electric Vehicle Journal : The “Semiconductor Crisis” as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Impacts on the Automotive Industry and Its Supply Chains

Authors: Benjamin Frieske and Sylvia Stieler

In the first half of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic led to a drastic slump in the automotive industry, which was replaced by a surprisingly rapid growth in demand in the fall of 2020, and consequently led to the current shortages in microelectronic products. The prospect of an equally rapid economic recovery in the automotive industry is still threatened by supply bottlenecks for raw materials and key components, foremost for semiconductors. The so-called ‘semiconductor crises’ show exemplarily the overlapping of short-term supply chain disruptions with long-term structural features of the semiconductor industry. The combination of both is preventing that the supply situation in the automotive industry will improve quickly. First in this paper, the reasons for and respective effects of the crisis on the automotive industry are investigated by a quantitative market analysis. Second, specific strategic measures and options of automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and suppliers in Germany to cope with the situation and increase resilience in future supply chains are described by the means of qualitative expert interviews. By that, the paper helps in understanding the actual situation in the automotive industry, on the one hand, and contributes to the field of strategic supply chain and risk management with a focus on practical implications on the other hand. The results aim to support political stakeholders as well as small and medium sized enterprises to prepare themselves for future developments in the automotive market and changes in manufacturer–supplier relationships due to the transformation to new powertrain technologies and digitization.

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