Ford to suspend production at a German plant for five days, cites chips shortage linked to Malaysian supplier

Ford has once again announced that it will be cutting back production at its Cologne plant in Germany. According to Automobilwoche, this is due to pandemic-related failures at a Malaysian semiconductor manufacturer, which caused delivery problems at a separate door module supplier.

“Due to a production stoppage at a semiconductor manufacturer, Ford Fiesta production at our Cologne plant will be suspended from August 23 to 28,” a Ford spokesperson told Automotive News Europe. “We are working as quickly as possible to resume production.”

The Fiesta production line has been suspended several times since May due to the chip crunch. Because of this door module shortage, workers who had just returned from a month-long “plant vacation” were requested to put in shorter hours for two weeks starting August 17. “It may take even longer,” a management notice indicated, as supply flow continues to remain uncertain.

The Blue Oval employs about 15,000 employees at its Cologne facility (its European headquarters), 5,000 of which are managing the Fiesta production line. Others work in development, administration and more. Ford’s second location in Germany is Saarlouis in Saarland.

It is unclear if this is linked to the semiconductor supplier based in Muar, Johor, which had been closed for weeks. The closure is likely in compliance to the National Recovery Plan (NRP) rules, which kept factories in non-essential categories (vehicle production included) shuttered.

Bosch China vice president Xu Daquan (otherwise known as David Xu) said Bosch’s ability to manufacture ESP/IPB, VCU, TCU and other types of chips will be gravely affected, with supply expected to be significantly reduced for the rest of August. He also noted that more than 3,000 workers in the Muar factory have been affected by this recent work outage.

There are over 50 semiconductor producers with factories in Malaysia, with Bosch being one of the big names alongside Intel, Infineon, NXP and Texas Instruments. The local packaging and testing capacity present here accounts for about 13% of global total capacity.

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