Carmakers and pharma hit by slowdown in UK imports from Europe

It comes as the automotive industry faces a 2.5 million car shortfall thanks to a chip

It comes as the automotive industry faces a 2.5 million car shortfall thanks to a chip drought that has stalled production lines across the world.

The cut in production comes as car companies struggle to find semiconductors after a surge in demand for consumer electronics and games consoles left them at the back of the queue for high-tech parts.

German chip company Infineon said it expected production to still be over a million short in the second quarter of the year.

Helmut Gassel, the company’s chief marketing officer, told analysts: “There are roughly 1.5 million cars not being built in the first quarter, and 1 million vehicles not being built in the second. That, we think, is the best estimate that currently exists.”

Carmakers including Ford, GM, Audi and BMW have been forced to shut production lines for days at a time to deal with a lack of chips. On Monday, Ford said it would halt production in Germany for several weeks.  Many modern cars feature dozens of semiconductors, but supply chain shocks have left carmakers scrambling to find parts.

During the first wave of coronavirus, car companies cut back on orders for chips as sales slumped. 

This has since left them lagging behind as orders picked back up again faster than expected. They have also found themselves behind orders for chips to support surging demand for consumer gadgets such as the new Xbox and Playstation consoles.

On Monday Pat Gelsinger, chief executive of Intel, said he expected the chip shortages to drag on for “a couple of years”. The US company is investing $20bn in new semiconductor capacity, it announced in April.