Toyota announced it must temporarily replace two of its electronic push-to-start “smart” keys with a mechanical version due to global semiconductor shortages.
Toyota said in a statement Thursday that it does not want Japanese customers to wait years for their vehicles to be delivered. “As the shortage of semiconductors continues, this is a provisional measure aimed at delivering cars to customers as quickly as possible,” the company said.
Toyota, the world’s top-selling carmaker, said it plans to return to smart keys as soon as the supply chain can keep up with demand.
The global semiconductor shortage has also slowed the production of smartphones, appliances, computers, and other products that use the silicon chips for memory functions. This makes automotive manufacturers particularly vulnerable to changes in the supply chain that use semiconductors for smart keys or other complex computer systems inside vehicles.
Toyota also warned last Friday that its annual production would be below the expected 9.7 million vehicle target due to global semiconductor shortages.
In addition to the semiconductor shortage, increasing inflation, natural disasters, high-interest rates, and economic recession are also impacting the automotive industry.
The move by Toyota comes after Swedish automaker Volvo temporarily closed one of its factories Wednesday due to the chip shortage.