The horrible conflict in Ukraine has unfortunately generated a lot of collateral damage, aside from the well-known humanitarian crisis. Automakers are having problems securing the necessary parts to assemble cars, forcing many to halt production. BMW is on that list, deciding at the beginning of the month to temporarily stop activities at its German plants in Munich and Dingolfing.
Thankfully, a company spokesperson has told Automotive News Europe the two factories will be up and running next week. BMW will gradually resume operations whereas MINI’s Oxford plant is going to remain closed for two weeks. The closure is related not just to the difficult situation in Ukraine, but also to the now usual semiconductor shortages. The latter issue stems from the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused severe supply chain disruptions.
It’s worth noting the situation could still get worse before it gets better. The geopolitical situation in Ukraine is expected to have an impact on neon availability. Because 70% of production comes from the eastern European country, the noble gas might be harder to come by. Companies need neon for lasers that produce semiconductor chips.
Supply Issues Keep Piling Up
In addition, BMW and other automakers are having a difficult time acquiring wire harnesses for vehicle cables. The average car contains about 3.1 miles (5 kilometers) of cables, which are an essential part of the electrical system. Many factories making wire harnesses are based in Ukraine, making it harder for automakers to secure the necessary hardware.
Meanwhile, BMW has stopped car production in Russia where it has also temporarily halted exports. The company is facing these hurdles just as it’s getting ready to unveil its next-generation flagship, the 7 Series. The luxury sedan will offer a fully electric i7 version for the first time as part of a lineup expansion that will include the XM plug-in hybrid SUV. In addition, a first-ever M3 Touring is planned to arrive later this year, with an electric iX1 not far behind.
The BMW Group’s plan to expand its portfolio also includes the MINI Countryman and Rolls-Royce Spectre electric models. The two EVs are due in 2023 when we’ll also see the i5 based on the next-generation 5 Series.
[Source: Automotive News]