Auto supplier Bosch says pandemic, chip shortage to weigh on industry growth this year

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Auto supplier Robert Bosch said Thursday the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and a semiconductor chip shortage will weigh on global automotive production growth in 2021.

Around 85 million vehicles will roll off assembly lines around the world this year, more than the 78 million units produced in 2020 but still below the 92 million cars produced in 2019, the Stuttgart-based supplier said.

Global automotive production hit a high of 98 million units in 2017.

“We are quite positive,” CEO Volkmar Denner said, although he added that “we still have a long way to go to catch up”.

The supplier said it estimated its sales would grow 4 percent in 2021 after a drop of more than 6 percent in 2020.

Bosch said the “bottleneck” in the global semiconductor chip market had “not left Bosch unscathed.”

General Motors is the latest manufacturer hit by the chip shortage. It said Wednesday that it will cut production next week.

Stefan Hartung, Bosch’s head of mobility solutions, declined to apportion blame for the shortage.

“We all fight together in close cooperation to solve the problem.” he said.

Bosch said its concerns for automotive production in 2021 extended beyond the pandemic’s lingering impact.

“Political developments such as Brexit and continuing strategic competition between the U.S. and China with its potential for trade restrictions are also negatively impacting global economic development.”

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Saurabh Shukla

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