Pickups largely shielded from chip shortage

Some of the U.S. auto industry’s most-profitable vehicles — pickups — appear to have been spared from the brunt of North American plant shutdowns caused by the global microchip shortage.  

Pickups accounted for 9 percent of the vehicles affected by slowed production, according to the latest figures from AutoForecast Solutions. That segment accounted for 20 percent of the vehicles sold in the U.S. last year, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center.

Less-profitable passenger cars, meanwhile, have taken a disproportionate hit. Thirty percent of affected vehicles have been cars, AutoForecast Solutions says. The segment accounted for 24 percent of U.S. sales last year. 

A similar pattern holds for utility vehicles. They commanded 51 percent of U.S. sales in 2020 and 60 percent of the vehicles impacted by slowed North American production.

“It seems likely that the major automakers have thus far managed to strategically allocate chips to maintain the production of more popular, and profitable, vehicles,” Cox Automotive said in an analysis. 

Vehicles affected by the production shortages have an average days’ supply of 86 and an average listing price of $35,918, Cox said. Models that haven’t been affected have a 72-day supply and an average price of $38,322. 

The latest

The number of vehicles not produced because of announced closures to date rose to 882,000 as of March 5, up from 780,000 a week earlier. North America accounted for most of the increase. The projected volume impact is now 1.7 million, up from 1.6 million.

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