Daimler Truck CEO says he’s more concerned about chips than Covid

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  • Daimler Trucks CEO Martin Daum said that he does not see Kovid as a major risk for the company at this time.
  • Analysts have said the move to electric vehicles isn’t helping the semiconductor shortage as they may require up to 10 times more chips than conventional vehicles.
  • Automotive chipmaker Infineon is struggling to meet demand for its semiconductors, according to company CEO Reinhard Ploss.

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Daimler Trucks CEO Martin Daum revealed on Friday that he is more concerned about the global semiconductor shortage than he is about the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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“I’m more concerned about semiconductors than Covid at the moment,” Daum told CNBC’s “Street Science Europe.” “Trucks are essential to keeping our system alive even in the depths of crisis.”

Daum said he does not see Covid as a major risk to Daimler Trucks at this time. “The risk is the supply situation, especially on the semiconductor side,” he said.

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The executive said truck manufacturers typically “estimate the market” and then set targets for market share. “Then you realize what your production quota is,” Daum said.

“These days, you call your semiconductor suppliers, ask how many you can get and it’s basically your production schedule because you know every single truck you make will sell.”

Automotive chipmaker Infineon is struggling to meet demand for its semiconductors, according to company CEO Reinhard Ploss. “Automotive, but also other verticals, are currently very tight on supply,” Ploss told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Wednesday.

“We are far from meeting demand,” he said, adding that demand continues to grow as a backlog is building. “The problems keep getting bigger and bigger over time.”

Infineon opened a new 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) semiconductor factory in Villach, Austria, in September in an effort to meet demand for its products. It said chips from the plant will be used primarily to meet the demand for renewable energy generation from the automotive industry, data centers and solar and wind power.

Analysts have said the move to electric vehicles isn’t helping the semiconductor shortage as they may require up to 10 times more chips than conventional vehicles.

But electric vehicles manufactured by Daimler Trucks do not require a “significantly higher” number of semiconductors than their internal combustion engine counterparts, Daum said.

“I would say it’s less than 10%, so that’s not the deciding point,” he said.

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