It's not hard to guess why.
The semiconductor chip shortage has not affected BMW anywhere near as severely as other automakers. General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis are prime examples. All three Detroit automakers have been forced to idle certain production facilities and very carefully select which vehicles to build and which ones not to. This is all because of a thumbnail-sized chip made overseas that's been in short supply for months. Now it's BMW's turn.
Reuters has confirmed with the Munich-based automaker that nearly all of its German facilities have been struck by a lack of these crucial chips. The consequences are troubling. Around 10,000 new vehicles, including the popular BMW 3 Series, cannot be completed and, in turn, delivered to dealerships and sold to customers.
BMW's chip troubles have already resulted in the loss of production of 30,000 new vehicles this year alone. The chip crisis is not expected to be over anytime soon though many analysts predict some relief will come early next year as chip supplies begin to get back on track. What the report did not state is how BMW's lack of chips is affecting its biggest and, perhaps, most important production facility in the world.
The Spartanburg, South Carolina plant is home to the company's most popular vehicles, all of which are SUVs. The BMW X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7 are all manufactured there. The upcoming X8 flagship model is also expected to call Spartanburg home.
As of last May, BMW officials were on record as saying that Spartanburg will continue to produce vehicles on schedule as full chip supplies are expected to remain in place at least through the end of the year. But there's only been one major legacy automaker that's been mainly unaffected by the chip crisis: Toyota. There's a tragic historical reason why.
The devastating and deadly 2011 tsunami triggered by an extremely powerful Pacific Ocean earthquake knocked out Toyota's production capabilities for weeks. Among the many hurdles was re-stocking critical parts and supplies. Lessons were learned and Toyota ditched its longtime "just in time" supply chain. It began stocking vital components like semiconductor chips and now those efforts are paying off big time.