Volkswagen Group's Seat unit will cut production at its Spanish factory in Martorell, near Barcelona, because of a shortage of microchips.
A production line that builds the Seat Leon and Cupra Leon compact cars, and the Cupra Formentor crossover, will work on two shifts per day instead of the current three from Jan. 25 until April, Seat said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.
This will reduce the number of vehicles produced per day to 600 from 900, with a loss of 18,000 units over the period, according to the Spanish business daily Expansion.
Some workers will be transferred to a production line that builds the Seat Ibiza small hatchback and Seat Arona small crossover, which will add a third shift because of high demand for those models, Seat said.
The Ibiza and Arona are based on VW Group's MQB-A0 platform, which is not affected by a global shortage of semiconductors.
The remaining workers will be temporarily laid off.
Seat says production of the missing units at Martorell should be recovered during the rest of 2021, unless there is further disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Seat told unions that its 2020 production will be down 30 percent to 350,000 after a two-month production stop early this year because of the pandemic, according to Spanish media.
Production is expected to rise to 483,000 in 2021. Seat built an all-time high of 500,005 cars in Martorell in 2019.
VW Group said on Dec. 18 that it is adjusting production in Europe, China and the U.S. because of a shortage of microchips. The move will affect production of VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat models based on VW Group's MQB architecture. The platform underpins car such as the VW Golf, Audi A3 and Seat Leon.
Semiconductor manufacturers reassigned their production capacities to other sectors such as consumer electronics during the slump in car sales earlier this year caused by the spread of COVID-19.