BERLIN–Volkswagen has started building its ID.3 electric vehicle, but is bracing for a major production disruption from a shortage of semiconductors.
The world's largest automaker will need to adjust first-quarter manufacturing plans around the globe because of the bottleneck, VW said in an emailed statement last Friday.

The number of cars affected could be in the low six-digit range. However, the situation remains fluid as the reallocation of components to mitigate the impact might distort assembly of vehicles that aren't directly affected by the chip shortage.

Semiconductors are at the heart of the high-performance computer chips that power electronic devices like computers and mobile phones, gadgets whose demand has grown as pandemic-induced lockdowns keep people inside their homes. After the COVID-19 pandemic hurt auto sales earlier this year, many semiconductor makers shifted production to consumer products, Volkswagen said.

But then car sales bounced back faster than expected, especially in China, the world’s largest car market. Semiconductor makers have not been able to meet demand and will take several months to realign production.

As a result, Volkswagen said, it would have to adjust production at factories in China, Europe and North America. Volkswagen has factories in Chattanooga, TN, and Puebla, Mexico.