Time.news – At the moment, magnesium deficiency is not a problem for the auto industry but, after the chips, it could pose a risk to their future plans. Where that is the production in China, which accounts for 85% of the global magnesium supply, should it not recover quickly, car manufacturers could face new problems.
The alarm was raised by manufacturers supplying the industry with key components that are heavily dependent on magnesium, which can be used alone or combined with aluminum to reduce the weight of cars. It must be said that making vehicles lighter is particularly useful for extending the driving range of electric vehicles, which is crucial for Europe’s energy transition plans.
Chip shortages have already lengthened delivery times for new cars, sometimes up to a year. Without a rapid resumption of Chinese magnesium exports, these queues could lengthen.
According to reports from Reuters, there are no imminent problems but for example Volkswagen fears such a risk. “We cannot predict at this time whether the magnesium deficiency, which will surely happen according to schedule, it will be heavier than the semiconductor shortagei, “explained Volkswagen’s Murat Aksel.
China’s magnesium production is about 50 percent of normal levels, industrial sources said, as rising coal prices and energy rationing have prompted smelters to cut or close operations. For now, Beijing has allowed some magnesium producers to resume production, but not enough to significantly alleviate the shortage.
Prices have dropped from all-time highs, but they are still more than double the January levels. “We are very concerned that this will impact us in a couple of weeks,” Jonathan O’Riordan, director of international trade at the European automobile manufacturers’ association ACEA, told Reuters.
Germany’s ZF, which uses magnesium for gearboxes and steering wheels, for example, is looking for new sources of magnesium from other countries, but it is difficult to compensate for the loss of Chinese supply given the size of its market share. “It’s the calm before the storm,” said Teresa Schad, a spokesperson for the German metals association, WV Metalle.