A global semiconductor shortage hit production at US-European auto giant Stellantis in the first quarter but the owner of 14 brands including Peugeot, Fiat and Chrysler still booked strong sales, the company said Wednesday.
The coronavirus pandemic sparked huge demand for computers and electronic devices as people were stuck at home, leading to a shortage in chips that are also essential in cars.
The shortages have affected automakers across the globe, including Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen, and Stellantis, which was created by the merger of Peugeot-Citroen and Fiat-Chrysler.
Stellantis said in a statement the "headwinds from the global semiconductor crisis" led to a shortfall in output of around 190,000 units in the first quarter.
The figure represents 11 percent of planned production for the period from January to March at a car manufacturer whose diverse brands include Jeep, Maserati and Alfa Romeo.
And while there was "limited visibility" with regard to the full-year impact of the microchip shortage, Stellantis expected the second quarter to be worse than the first.
But Stellantis projects "some improvement" in the second half.
Out of Stellantis' 44 factories in Brazil, France and the United States, some eight sites have suspended some assembly lines or introduced short-time work in the face of shortages, chief financial officer, Richard Palmer, told a news conference.
Nevertheless, the company posted "strong" revenues in the January-March period, Palmer insisted.
- Forecasts unchanged -
"With the diverse brand portfolio driving increased volumes, positive pricing and improved product mix," group revenues rose by 14 percent to 37 billion euros ($44 billion) and overall shipments were up 11 percent at 1.6 million units, the carmaker said.
Stellantis said it was sticking to its forecasts for the whole of 2021, with its main markets of Europe, North America and South America expected to grow by 10 percent, eight percent and 20 percent, respectively.
In a bid to boost sales, Stellantis is expecting to launch its Opel Mokka model in the coming months and begin production of its Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Cherokee models.
The carmaker is also to unveil its strategy for the electrification of its brands at the beginning of July.
The group has already started its transition to more environmentally friendly cars with hydrid and electric versions of some of its Peugeot models.
But Stellantis said it might be able to bring its carbon emissions down within European limits as early as this year.
In an interview in the daily Le Point on Tuesday, chief executive Carlos Tavares said the group could thus do without this year of the CO2 emissions credits that it bought from Tesla.
Investors welcomed Stellantis' first-quarter results, with the group's shares rising by nearly three percent on the stock exchange in Milan and by more than 2.5 percent in Paris.