Why New Microchip Shortage Affects Next-Generation Subaru WRX And STI Most
Torque News reported Subaru shut down its manufacturing plants last week due to a global microchip shortage. Subaru Corporation will restart production at its plants in Japan and the U.S. today. Still, a new Automotive News report says the problem could hurt Subaru into the second quarter and possibly even the second half of 2021. Phil Amsrud, an IHS Markit senior principal analyst who is tracking the crisis, says, "This isn't going to go away quickly."
The AN report says automakers like Subaru use the microchips from Apple, Sony, and Samsung to light up touchscreens in the 2021 Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent models. The next-generation 2022 Subaru WRX and 2022 STI will also get a new tablet-style touchscreen that will use microchips.
They also use the chips for WRX models with the EyeSight advanced driver-assist system. The microchips used for their sensors apply the brakes before a driver backs into a car in the parking lot.
The next-generation 2022 WRX and STI tablet-style touchscreen is borrowed from the newly-remodeled Subaru Outback. The old hard buttons are going away, making way for the new multi-media interface to offer Apple Car Play and Android Auto integration.
Because of the microchip shortage, Subaru will be forced to choose between building its top-selling Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek SUVs and delaying production of its slower-selling performance models.
Subaru Corporation may need to delay production of the sport-tuned 2022 WRX and performance-tuned 2022 Subaru WRX STI in favor of having enough chips for its high volume SUVs.
Subaru pushed back production of the 2022 WRX because of COVID to this fall. The 2022 Subaru WRX STI was delayed even further to the fall of 2022. Now, the two performance models' production could be pushed back further until chip supplies are back to normal.
TrendForce senior analyst C.Y. Yao said in an email to Automotive News, "chip suppliers simply have been unable to deliver on rising demand from automakers."
The 2021 Subaru WRX and STI are scheduled to arrive at retailers this March, but that could even be delayed. Subaru will likely prioritize its most profitable models, the 2021 Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek SUVs, at the expense of its performance cars.
Unfortunately, Subaru will sacrifice the all-new redesigned 2022 WRX and 2022 WRX STI. Fans may have to wait longer for the launch of the two performance cars. Stay tuned.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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