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Bad News on the Chip Front as Toshiba Suspends Production After Earthquake

As if the global health problem wasn’t already enough to create horror chip supply problems, the strong earthquake that hit Japan a few days ago is causing even more headaches to some companies.
Carmakers ship vehicles without certain systems due to chip shortage 6 photos
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Including Toshiba, that is, as the production lines at one of its factories in Oita City were damaged by the quake. As a result, the firm decided to suspend the local operations, explaining that its buildings and infrastructure didn’t record significant damage.

But given the production lines were affected by the earthquake, it’s now conducting a more thorough analysis. More concerning for the auto industry is that Toshiba doesn’t have an estimate as to when the production lines could be up and running again.

The Oita plant was specifically responsible for the production of large-scale integration, or LSI, chips aimed at automakers, so the suspended operations at the factory could cause more supply issues for Toshiba’s clients.

Toshiba is expected to share updates on its findings later this week.

It’s pretty clear already that the chip shortage wouldn’t go away too soon, and carmakers are currently in the process of preparing for another difficult wave in the first months of the year. And just like before, auto manufacturers end up either suspending the production at certain facilities or shipping cars without certain systems.

Earlier this month, Toyota confirmed it wouldn’t be able to build as many cars as it planned for the current fiscal year, blaming the chip shortage as the main reason. Not a long time ago, BMW decided to sell certain models without touchscreens, while General Motors gave up on heated seats and parking assistance systems on several nameplates in its lineup.

Analysts continue to believe the chip problems would ease up later this year, but for now, everybody is just waiting to see if the health crisis comes to an end in 2022 or not.


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