BMW eliminates touch screens due to semi-conductor shortage.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 15 print edition of GSA Business Report.

The U.S. Commerce Department expected players from across the semiconductor supply chain to put in a word on data gaps and bottle necks by Nov. 8.

The jury is still out on how responsive international suppliers were and what could be gleaned from the feedback, but it appears the chp chain is still on the fritz.

"It's time to get more aggressive," U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement last month. "Fundamentally the solution is that we need to make more chips, and we need to make more chips in America, which is why the House can't pass the Chips Act fast enough, as far as I am concerned."

The CHIPS for America Act, introduced to the U.S. House on June 11, 2020, and sent back to committee, provides income tax credits for semiconductor equipment and manufacturing facility investment through 2026.

Despite supply chain snags, however, BMW Manufacturing reports no production interruptions and forecasts a record year, according to new plant spokesperson Nathalie Bauters.

So, what gives?

The company has begun to strip touch screens from new BMW 3 Series, X5, X6, X7, Z4 and BMW 4 Series Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe models.

Plant Spartanburg makes the X3, X3 M, X5, X5 M and X7 Sports Activity Vehicle and the X4, X4 M, X6 and X6M Sports Activity Coupe.

"As you know, industry-wide supply issues are impacting automotive manufacturing around the world," Bauters said in an email. "As a result, there are temporary limitations on the availability of some options or equipment. We are actively managing the situation and are in close contact with our suppliers."

Bauters noted that BMW models shipped without a touch screen will come with a $500 credit for buyers.

"However, the situation is fluid and we stay in daily communication with our suppliers," she said in the email.

According to a third quarter report from the company, the semiconductor shortage caused third quarter sales to drop by 12% year over year or 593,177?vehicles worldwide.

Still, worldwide sales volumes had increased throughout 2021, with sales rising by 18%, according to the report.

"In the third quarter 2021, operations were increasingly impacted by supply bottlenecks for semiconductor components," the report said. "Although this resulted in production volume shortfalls and lower sales volumes during the period from July to September 2021, the impact was more than offset by positive price...

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