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Mexican auto employees battle amid chip scarcity

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AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico — The world semiconductor scarcity is hitting Mexico’s auto employees exhausting as employers slash output, cut back shift work and lower jobs as a result of supply-chain breakdowns.

The ache is acute within the central Mexican state of Aguascalientes and its namesake capital, one of many nation’s high automotive facilities, the place the chip crunch has compelled rolling shutdowns at employers massive and small.

The non permanent closures have translated into misplaced wages for tens of 1000’s of employees right here and throughout Mexico as a result of furloughs and layoffs, in line with interviews with laborers, union leaders and business executives.

Cuitlahuac Perez is basic director of Aguascalientes-based auto components firm Maindsteel, and head of one of many state’s automotive clusters, which promotes the business. He mentioned his provider and different Aguascalientes suppliers have been suspending operations a median of seven to eight days per 30 days as automakers and different components firms additional up the availability chain halt manufacturing.

Perez estimates that about one in 5 native automotive employees have misplaced their jobs, with the remainder seeing large pay cuts because the chip shortages started about seven or eight months in the past. By contract, many idled employees right here obtain half their salaries.

“We’re speaking a few direct impression on their households,” Perez mentioned.

Semiconductors are an indispensable element for the world’s automakers, who want them for all kinds of methods similar to security, navigation and leisure. COVID-19 outbreaks in Asian semiconductor manufacturing hubs have slowed chip manufacturing. The fallout has rippled throughout the globe, with automakers unable to maintain manufacturing on tempo with car demand.

In Mexico, multinationals affected embrace Nissan, the nation’s second-largest car producer. The Japanese automaker operates a powertrain facility and an meeting plant in Aguascalientes producing its March, Versa, Kicks and Sentra autos. The corporate has seen a minimum of 5 shutdowns at its Mexican amenities this yr as a result of chip points, Reuters has reported.

The most recent got here earlier this month, the corporate mentioned, with stoppages starting from 5 to seven days at its Aguascalientes vegetation, and an eight-day closure at its CIVAC manufacturing unit in Morelos state, which manufactures the Versa V-Drive sedan and two pickups: the NP300 and Frontier.

The dearth of chips has additionally affected an Aguascalientes meeting plant that is collectively operated between Daimler and Renault-Nissan. The so-called COMPAS plant, which produces the Mercedes-Benz GLB crossover, has skilled “shift reductions or manufacturing breaks,” a Mercedes spokesperson mentioned in emailed feedback.

The turmoil is weighing on Mexico’s economic system. Automotive manufacturing fell 20 % to three.04 million autos final yr, and is forecast to drop by as a lot as one other 5 % in 2021, in line with the Mexican Automotive Business Affiliation. The auto business, which employs 946,000 employees, has misplaced 16,000 auto jobs because the finish of 2019, AMIA figures present.

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