FRANKFURT -- Audi, Volkswagen Group's biggest profit contributor, has to troubleshoot on a day-to-day basis to tackle an ongoing shortage of auto chips, CEO Markus Duesmann said.
"We had a very strong first half in 2021. We do expect a much weaker second half. We really have trouble," Markus Duesmann told Reuters, calling the situation "a perfect storm".
Duesmann's comments highlight the problems global automakers are facing in navigating a global chip supply crunch that has hit car production around the world. But while the car industry's vehicle sales have suffered it has softened the blow through price increases that have boosted margins.
Audi in July said it had been unable to build a mid-five-digit number of cars in the first half of the year. But its profit margin in the period surged to 10.7 percent, even surpassing the 8 percent in 2019 before the pandemic struck.
"We are dealing with it pretty well I would say," said Duesmann, who also sits on the management board of VW Group. He said the group was seeking closer ties with chipmakers and that the automaker would emerge stronger from the crisis.
"But at the moment it's a day-to-day troubleshooting process," he said.
Audi, which accounted for more than a quarter of VW's first-half operating profit, has embarked on an ambitious shift towards battery-powered vehicles, meaning all new models it will release from 2026 will be full electric.
Meantime, production of internal combustion engines will be gradually phased out up to 2033.