Automakers have begun shutting down many assembly lines due to deepening shortages of key auto parts such as microchips (semiconductors) and seat foam.
Multiple sources including Automotive News reported on Tuesday that production complications had hit major automakers such as Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Volvo since last week.
While some say they will suspend production lines as they await parts, others are selectively choosing which models to produce.
Some are attempting creative workarounds, such as postponing the installation of certain electronic modules until after a vehicle is built.
It was learnt that many automakers, for instance, cannot buy the semiconductors they need because home electronics are taking all the supply.
In a piece titled ‘Lack of tiny parts disrupts auto factories worldwide’, the New York Times, reported, “Strong demand for gaming systems, personal computers and other electronics by a world stuck indoors has sucked up supplies of semiconductors, forcing carmakers around the world to scramble for the chips that have become as essential to mobility as gasoline or steel.
“Virtually no car maker has been spared. Toyota Motor has shut down production lines in China. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles temporarily stopped production at plants in Ontario and Mexico. Volkswagen has warned of production problems at factories in China, Europe and the United States. Ford Motor said it was idling a Louisville, Ky., factory for a week because of the shortage.”
The United States car giant General Motors announced early in the month that it was shutting three plants and slowing production at a fourth due to the semiconductor shortage. The automaker said it could miss its 2021 targets as a result.
“Despite our mitigation efforts, the semiconductor shortage will impact GM production in 2021,” a company spokesman said in a statement.
GM also said, “Semiconductor supply for the global auto industry remains very fluid. Our supply chain organization is working closely with our supply base to find solutions for our suppliers’ semiconductor requirements and to mitigate impact on GM.”
Several other car manufacturers have also put production on hold. For instance, Honda UK’s main plant in Swindon was shut down for several days last month due to a chip shortage, for example.
Elsewhere, Ford and Volkswagen have also shut plants or cut production while they wait for supplies to pick up.
Ford said in January that it was shutting a factory in Germany for a month, while Volkswagen said in December it would make 100,000 fewer cars this quarter as a result of the shortage.
Speaking about the chip shortage on a Davos panel on January 25, VW CEO Herbert Diess said, “We have to make sure that the markets and supply chains remain intact.”
Falan Yinug, director of industry statistics and economic policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association, says the chip shortage in the automotive industry is largely the result of substantial swings in demand due to the pandemic and the increased use of semiconductors in advanced vehicles.
“The events leading to the current auto chip shortage began during the second quarter of 2020, when automakers understandably reduced production and chip purchases as the virus spread across the globe,” Yinug recently wrote in a blog.
Executive Publisher at the Car Expert, Karl Brauer, said, “The current supply chain issues represent an unusual combination of factors, including shipping constraints, chip shortages and rising consumer demand.
“While consumer demand was a key component in 2020’s reduced new-car sales, production and distribution constraints will likely be the limiting factors for 2021.”
Updated: Kia targets trendy young Nigerians with sophisticated, sporty Sonet, Seltos
The arrival of the two compact sport utility vehicles, the all-new Kia Sonet and the high-tech Kia Seltos may just be timely for those waiting for special vehicles to rock the end of the year known for festivities and unique automobiles.
The two Kia models assembled in Nigeria were unveiled in Lagos last Friday to the motoring journalists are expected to significantly raise the market share of the Kia brand in the compact SUV segment, which is fast becoming the toast of many new car buyers globally including Nigeria, especially young trendy people.
Kia says the bold compact Sonet now available for customers in Nigeria has been developed ground-up to set new benchmarks in design, technology, dynamics and safety.
According to the firm, the vehicle offers first-in-class six-speed automatic, alongside a wide choice of powertrains
“The urban and athletic Sonet has arrived in Nigeria and poised to revolutionise the sub-compact SUV segment. Designed to be bold and unforgettable, the Sonet boasts of key features that place it in a league of its own within the compact SUV segment,” says Kia’s Marketing Manager, Olawale Jimoh.
Specifically, he says the Sonet coming with multiple powertrain options has impressive features encapsulated in a modern exterior and incorporates the Kia’s DNA of emotive styling along with a premium appeal creating a strong presence on the road.
The Sonet is said to provide comfort, convenience and safety as it has been fitted with the largest and the best in class 10.25-inch (26.03 cm) HD and it comes with other smart features such as multi-drive and traction modes, and grip control for automatic models.
Designed around the driver with a well laid-out, intuitive infotainment and cluster interface, the Sonet was built taking into consideration the end user’s experience, harbouring functional qualities in every inch of its ergonomic space, says Kia.
Managing Director/CEO, Kia Nigeria, Jacky Hathiramani, says, “Kia has manufactured a vision inspired by our young, ingenious customers who crave simplicity and seamlessness in their lives.
“The Sonet delivers on features that are simply not found in models belonging to the same compact SUV category. Packed with first-in-class, purposeful features and technologies. Our Nigeria customers will find in the Sonet a smart companion to navigate the needs of life.”
For the engine, Kia says with an efficiently petrol-powered engine, Kia Sonet offers its 1.5-litre MPI engine with the six-speed automatic transmission.
For safety, the firm says more than two-thirds of the Sonet’s body consists of high strength and advanced high strength steel, which creates a robust yet lightweight structure.
Kia says it has ensured that every drive with the Sonet is as hassle free and safe as possible, with a rigorous set of measures created in line with the automaker’s pillars of safety.
The Sonet will be available in a dual trim concept that includes a sporty GT-Line trim. Enhancing the Sonet’s athletic and energetic appeal, the GT-Line models offer sportiness both inside and out. Customers looking for a sharp, dynamic road presence have the choice to opt for this trim.
Seltos: Combining sophistication, comfort, efficiency
Kia says the new Seltos is one of the most high-tech cars in its class with a range of in-car features.
It is described as a technologically advanced and refined compact SUV equipped with a range of market and world-first features and designed to make driving safer and less stressful.
“The new Kia Seltos brings sophistication, assertiveness and cutting-edge technology and safety features to the global compact SUV segment,” says the Kia Nigeria
It adds, “The Seltos is characterised by distinctive design details, lending the compact SUV an air of understated sportiness. It combines forward-looking technical features, class-leading space and a suite of world-class safety features, and is powered by a choice of highly-efficient Smartstream petrol and diesel engines.”
Kia Nigeria MD/CEO, Hathiramani, speaks on the new SUV, saying, “The Seltos is an important car for Kia as it will play a central role in the expansion of our footprints, and especially in a priority market like Nigeria.
“We’ve adapted our strengths in design, quality and technology to fulfil the needs of customers in the Nigerian market. Seltos is aimed at youthful, tech-savvy buyers and is packed full of our most cutting-edge technology and safety equipment.”
Looking at its exterior design, this easily reveals the Seltos’ sporty and sophisticated nature through its long hood, a strong, character line on the front bumper, and sharp lines pressed into the bodywork.
It also sports a wide ‘tiger nose grille’, making the car instantly recognizable as a Kia, but with a difference.
The rear bumper with a metallic muffler effect accentuates this dynamic appearance.
For the interior design, the Seltos is designed with high quality, futuristic materials. With a target at youthful, tech-savvy buyers, the cabin is characterized by broad, sweeping shapes and highly technical details. Equipped with a range of technologies to maximize convenience, connectivity and ease of use, the bold design of the cabin incorporates a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
The vehicle comes with the lounge-like and spacious interior and houses 8.0-inch head-up display system which unobtrusively projects relevant driving information on to a small-glass panel behind the steering wheel – such as turn-by-turn navigation directions and vehicle speed information.
The Seltos is equipped with a range of newly developed third-generation powertrains for high efficiency and powerful performance. All powertrains are engineered with Kia’s Smartstream technology for improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
Kia showcases the vehicle and its 1.6-litre T-GDI turbocharged petrol engine, producing 177 PS.
It says other options are a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, producing 149 PS; and a 1.6-litre diesel engine, producing 136 PS.
For the Nigerian market, the Seltos will be offered with an automatic transmission options to suit customers’ needs and driving style – a six-speed automatic transmission (6AT) and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) .
The car’s 10.25-inch advanced infotainment system is said to be packed full of technology and gives advanced split-screen functionality. This allows users to control or monitor numerous vehicle features at the same time, and customize the screen to display up to three applications simultaneously.
The driver can choose to have a single display (such as navigation) or combine different elements on-screen.
The vehicle has a full range of advanced active safety systems to keep its occupants well protected on every journey.
For instance, the Seltos’ body is made up of a blend of steel and aluminium, maximising torsional rigidity while keeping body weight low.
The vehicle is fitted with six airbags, as well as a suite of electronic vehicle safety systems such as Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management system as standard, incorporating traction control and electronic stability control.
It is also fitted with an Anti-lock Braking System, a Traction Control System, a Brake-Force Assist System and Hill-start Assist Control, as well as front and rear parking sensors, for assistance when parking.
Nollywood actress, Destiny Etiko, gets second SUV in months
Stylish Nollywood actress, Destiny Etiko, has acquired a new Lexus, a sport utility vehicle, few months after buying a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Jeep.
She shared photos of the new vehicle on her Facebook page with the caption; “Another brand new car grace upon grace join me and thank the lord”.
Photos: Kia dazzles Nigerian fans, unveils Sonet, Seltos compact SUVs
Lovers of compact sport utility vehicles built with sophistication in Nigeria have two new stunning products to celebrate, coming from Kia Motors. They are the all-new Sonet and the high-tech Seltos.
The two models assembled in Nigeria and unveiled in Lagos on Friday to the motoring journalists are expected to substantially raise the market share of Kia in the compact SUV segment, which is fast becoming the toast of many new car buyers globally including Nigeria, especially young trendy people.
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