Auto Show | How much core is missing in the car?Manufacturers and sales give first-hand information

For Chinese car companies, the shortage of chips is not only a “danger”, but also an “opportunity”.

In the year of the epidemic, even in a country like China, which is a “model student of anti-epidemic”, it is inevitable to have a good car show. And as far as this Chengdu Auto Show is concerned, the twist seems to be a bit big.

On the 6th of last month, with the intrusion of delta-mutated strains in Zhengzhou, Nanjing, Yangzhou and other places, the “red light” of the epidemic was lit up. The Chengdu Auto Show, which was in a state of intense preparations, had no choice but to post a postponement announcement.

The organizers’ concerns are not unreasonable. After all, the fight against the epidemic is the top priority at the moment. However, the problem is that the organizing committee cannot specify how long it will be postponed. And it is not difficult to understand that, judging from the situation at the time, the culprit that led to this wave of epidemics was the notorious Delta strain. Due to its amazing contagiousness, it was difficult for anyone to determine whether it could still be “encircled and wiped out” in the short term according to the existing “zero-clearing policy”.

Worried about this, the organizing committee naturally did not dare to say anything.

But it is this announcement with a large ambiguity that has caused no small problems. Because from the experience of the past two years, all the exhibitions that announced that they will be postponed but are not sure about the specific postponement date will either end without success, or they will be held online to make it a little more interesting.

So with the release of the announcement of the postponement of the Chengdu Auto Show, all the people who are preparing intensively are also in a relaxed state.

However, only one week later, on August 12, the official announcement of the organizing committee on how long the auto show will be postponed came out: the time of the auto show was adjusted to be from August 29 to September 7. According to the original plan, the auto show was originally scheduled to open on August 27. It’s only been two days, which can be called a “delay” of loneliness.

But this week of waiting is enough to completely disrupt the work rhythm of all exhibitors. Tesla, SAIC-GM-Wuling, and GAC Honda, the three car companies that took the limelight at the Shanghai Auto Show half a year ago, directly put up their “war-free cards”. If it is not considered that the “Golden Nine Silver Ten” is imminent, I am afraid that there will be more companies that will eventually withdraw from the exhibition.

Fortunately, the end result was not too bad. A total of more than 130 exhibitors and nearly 150 new models are enough to fill the entire exhibition area of ​​200,000 square meters.

Of course, when the car is back on the road, the prevention and control of the epidemic is unprecedented. Since the organizer especially requires all exhibitors, whether exhibitors, media or ordinary audiences, they must present nucleic acid certificates within 48 hours when entering the venue, and check them every day. As a result, the Chengdu Auto Show has become the first exhibition in China to provide nucleic acid testing services at the venue.

Even after entering the exhibition area, the anti-epidemic atmosphere is still full. Not only did the security staff continue to use loudspeakers and bulletin boards to warn everyone to “wear masks at all times and keep a distance between people”; even the large number of new unmanned rice bag vending machines in the dining area silently told everyone to come forward. Diners: You have to continue to be vigilant about the epidemic…

01. The new ecology of traditional car companies under the lack of cores

In fact, the place with the highest “feeling concentration” of the epidemic is precisely on the booths of car companies. Because many sales consultants are trying to “open the gap” from your side, the shortage of car cores caused by the epidemic has become part of their marketing rhetoric.

Once an audience shows interest in a vehicle but is still hesitant, booth sales will attack you. It is completely different from the hesitant and even a bit covert attitude when asked at the Shanghai Auto Show half a year ago, “Is there a shortage of chips?” In Chengdu, booth sales not only did not hesitate to admit the fact that their own chips were in short supply, and This may lead to the extension of the delivery period, and even if you don’t ask, it will take the initiative to ask you.

In other words, this is actually saying: Because of the lack of cores, if you want to pick up the car early, you have to make an early decision. Buy early and enjoy early, right?

“The pick-up cycle for all popular models is longer than before. Some models may be extended by 5 to 6 weeks, and low-end models may have to wait longer.” A manager of the sales company said this at the FAW-Volkswagen exhibition area. tell the author. And he especially emphasized: “There are almost no existing cars. And for the time being, only one key can be delivered, and the other needs to be notified by the (dealer).”

At the Mercedes-Benz booth, before I even asked the author, the sales staff gave you a precaution: Don’t look at the complete range of models we displayed. In fact, the popular models have to wait a long time because of the lack of chips. Time. And she also emphasized: “The domestic model will take longer to wait than the imported model!”

Well, it’s quite subtle to say “buy early and enjoy early”.

For businesses or brands, core missing is common. But not for models. Because there are many brands, they will try their best to ensure the supply of chips for certain models.

For example, the dual-engine series that GAC Toyota used as a “fist”, the on-site sales manager emphasized: “Rainlink dual-engine E+ Chengdu has existing cars to pick up!” If you insist on what you want is the Highlander, Camry, etc. Oil cars, although there are some configurations and colors of existing cars that can be picked up, but all kinds of discounts, discounts and bonuses that come with the car, don’t think about it: “After all, special times and special circumstances. Unless you are willing to wait until October, then I can Give you a little discount.”

Those who dare to pat their chests and guarantee the car, also include the above-mentioned FAW-Volkswagen that can only have one key for the time being.

After chatting with a technical consultant around ID.4 CROZZ and talking about his daily driving of golf, the old golfer who also drives golf revealed some “inside information” to the author from the perspective of a car friend:

“The gas truck will definitely have to wait, it doesn’t matter if you want a Magotan or a CC, unless you are willing to accept a second-hand car. But if you want a tram, no matter ID.4 or ID.6, I can pack the ticket and I will be there within 10 days. Shop pick up!”

He explained the reason this way: “You know, now that the domestic carbon trading is online, in order to double points, the supply of chips for pure electric models will be guaranteed anyway.”

“Then how many keys do you give me?” The author asked with a smile. “It must be two!” The older brother gave a positive answer with a big smile.

A similar situation was encountered in Volvo’s exhibition area. Of course, the same is limited to the side where the green car is displayed.

The booth sales consultant of Volvo New Energy Zone emphasized to the author that as long as any customer wants to buy Volvo New Energy, no matter the pure electric XC-40, or the plug-in hybrid XC-60 and S-90, they can pick up the car immediately. . Especially the XC-60 plug-in hybrid, all configurations and colors are available, after all, the factory is located in Chengdu.

Another problem caused by the lack of cores is that the price discounts that car companies are willing to give have shrunk significantly. Or you can understand it this way, all prices have gone up in disguise.

Taking Geely as an example, the discount margin for best-selling models such as Boyue and New Emgrand is only about 2,000 yuan. The explanation from the booth sales is: without chips, the output has shrunk, how big can the discount be? Our managers only have permission to batch 3000.

When only a few companies lack cores, the lack of cores will be a “disadvantage” that needs to be covered up. And once the entire industry continues to face the impact of chip shortages, a new ecology will evolve around this state.

02. New forces in car building under the epidemic

So, how does the problem of lack of cores affect the new forces of domestic car manufacturers?

In an interview with a domestic media, a salesperson at NIO’s booth said: “Our sales have exceeded that of last year until now.”

At the same time, he emphasized that the lack of cores has little impact on the company, “on the contrary, the German floods combined with the global epidemic have had a certain impact on the company’s delivery time, because our suspensions are produced in Germany, and the fastest production schedule in the past was 3 weeks. It’s basically about 8 weeks now.”

This narrative is not a small problem, because the severely deteriorating Malaysian epidemic did affect NIO indirectly — in the same way that it affected NIO’s upstream supplier, Bosch.

In mid-August, ST’s packaging and testing plant in Macheng, Malaysia was temporarily closed due to the epidemic. As a result, it was unable to deliver the chip components used in the production of ESPs to Bosch on time. Since Bosch is NIO’s only ESP supplier, this situation will inevitably affect NIO’s normal production.

Of course, it was not only the foreign epidemic that affected Weilai in August, but also the domestic epidemic.

In mid-August, affected by the spread of the delta virus strain at Nanjing Airport, many urban areas in Nanjing were classified as high-risk areas and were forced to implement “city closure” measures. Coincidentally, one of NIO’s suppliers, Nanjo Quanxing, which specializes in the production of A/B-pillar interior panels for its ES6/EC6 models, was forced to stop production for quite a while because it was located in a high-risk area.

The A/B-pillar trim Panel is a standard instant component, and it is not complicated to produce, so car companies usually do not reserve inventory specifically, and often place as many orders as needed. But it is so unfortunate that Nanjo Quanxing is actually the only supplier of A/B pillar interior panels for Weilai. So the small A/B pillar interior panels became the key to blocking Weilai’s production capacity in August.

Although the production of interior parts suppliers in Nanjing has resumed, and the supply of Bosch ESP is also being ensured as much as possible, according to NIO’s official forecast, the production capacity affected by this may be as high as 2,000 to 3,000 units in August. NIO hopes that after September, after coordinating with the upstream of the supply chain, it will work hard to “explode production capacity” and try to make up for some of the production lost in August, but even so, it is expected that there will be about 1,000-2,000 units for the entire quarter. influences.

As for the ideal car and Xpeng Motors, which are ranked second and third?

“The sales of Lili ONE have been very good. When you buy a car during the auto show, you can only pick up the car a month later. Because there are more orders now, the queue time is longer. Ordering a car after the auto show will take longer.” He was asked whether the shortage of chips would affect production. Booth sales staff insisted that the chip problem had little impact on them, the reason being: “Because the ideal is not a Qualcomm chip!”

At the booth of Xiaopeng Motors, the sales staff answered in a straightforward manner: “So far, the production capacity of Xiaopeng Motors is very sufficient, and the impact of chips is not very big.”

In fact, the core shortage problem caused by the epidemic this time is not mainly affected by various types of advanced process autopilot chips, but the basic automotive-grade MCU chips. Its application range is very wide, including the control of intelligent driving related systems, the Display and calculation of the central control system, engine, chassis and body control, etc.

Generally speaking, among the semiconductor devices necessary for modern cars, MCU accounts for about 30%: a traditional car needs more than 70 MCU chips, and the demand for smart cars even exceeds 300.

So, how can it be “little effect”? It’s just that among all car companies, whether they are traditional car companies or new forces, they are all just struggling to support it.

The Chengdu Auto Show has always been an important platform for domestic auto sales. However, the lack of car supply caused by the lack of cores has added variables to this year’s Chengdu Auto Show.

Behind the sales consultants striving to hit the KPIs, it is essentially the car companies’ lack of key components, and the longer and longer delivery cycle. And due to insufficient supply of automotive-grade chips, China’s auto sales have fallen for three consecutive months since the second quarter of this year.

But in a sense, the shortage of chips brought about by the epidemic is not a complete bad thing for Chinese car companies. After all, under the “core shortage” that has affected the whole industry, the buyer’s market is starting to transform into a seller’s market again. And the price war started by independent brands in 2015 has finally come to an end.

For those self-owned brands who are interested in making progress, how to use this rare window period to develop “internal skills” from the perspective of product strength and user experience is very critical.

Even half a year ago, no one could have predicted that the problem of lack of cores would be so twists and turns. Even due to the further development of the global epidemic, the lack of cores may continue.

After the delta strain, the lambda strain is “ready to go”, which is a more dangerous variant of the new crown. On the basis of maintaining the extremely high infectivity of delta, the toxicity has also increased to a higher level .

Facts have proved that in the general environment where countries around the world have generally performed poorly in the fight against the epidemic, the shortage of automotive-grade chips will never be as optimistically expected at the beginning of the year. Just by allocating production capacity and optimizing the supply chain, it can be gradually achieved. solve. Because as long as this industry chain is still globalized, it is unavoidable that the virus will suddenly stop certain factories in a certain place at a certain moment, or even paralyze the supply system of the entire region. The global semiconductor supply chain will continue to change in this cycle of “supply crisis – signs of easing”.

And if you want to break this cycle, unless you completely move the industry chain to China! In fact, many multinational semiconductor giants are currently doing this.

According to data from the International Semiconductor Industry Association, 18 semiconductor projects around the world will be put into construction in 2020, of which mainland China will occupy 11 of them, with a total investment of US$24 billion. With the release of the production capacity of a large number of new fabs and the improvement of the capacity utilization rate of domestic mainstream foundries, the capacity expansion of fabs is bound to spread to the middle and downstream packaging manufacturers, which will bring more new demand for semiconductor packaging and testing. The testing industry is expected to enter a high-speed development cycle again.

However, we must realize that chip production, especially the manufacture of automotive-grade chips, is by no means as simple as building a fab and supporting packaging and testing factories, and then continuing to “go from A to B”. From IC design to wafer foundry to end-of-life packaging and testing, every link in chip manufacturing is highly specialized and full of challenges. Even after the product is actually completed, there is a complex certification system to enter the market. For automotive-grade chips, this certification process is particularly complicated.

In addition, after the certification process is completed, the chip will also face a two-year-long verification model import adjustment and testing phase. Then, it is the adjustment and testing phase of the development of the matching vehicle systems and functions.

And only after these steps are completed, a car-grade chip can really get a ticket to enter the automotive industry. Roughly speaking, this will be at least 4 years later.

The 4-year cycle, from another perspective, is a 4-year window period. So the key question now is, how many independent brands can correctly grasp this opportunity?

Wechat | Automobile commune C dimension

Author: Cha Youyin

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