Semiconductor shortages came from the left side, plaguing the industry at a precarious moment. Sales are down worldwide. In Europe, for example, it is down 25% in 2020.

All this is happening as automakers attempt to transition to a shift in basic technology from internal combustion engines to batteries, leaving them vulnerable to new competition from Tesla, The California company that has become the world’s most valuable automaker to date, and emerging Chinese manufacturers such as Nio.

It is unclear exactly how long the shortage will last. It could take 20-25 weeks from time to place new orders for chips and work through the supply chain to reach cars, said Michael Hogan, senior vice president at GlobalFoundries, a large chip manufacturer serving the automotive industry. Other markets.

“We are doing our best to prioritize our production of cars,” said Mr. Hogan.

German automobile electronics company Bosch said the shortage is particularly acute in the integrated circuits used to control engines, transmissions and other key functions. “Despite the difficult market situation, Bosch is doing everything it can to maintain supply to its customers and keep any additional impact to a minimum,” the company said in a statement.

Automakers and suppliers are interacting with the best they can. Munich-based BMW said it had managed to maintain production but was “monitoring the situation intensively” and was in constant contact with suppliers.

For automakers already reeling from the pandemic, some impact is inevitable. Honda said on Wednesday it will shut down some production activities at its Swindon, England, plant that builds Civex, for at least four days beginning on Monday. Honda pointed to supply chain problems, including a semiconductor shortage.

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The German supplier Continental, best known for its car tires but also producing electronic components, has called on semiconductor producers to build capacity in foundries that produce the chips.

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