Perfect storm for lubes industry

Covid, chip shortage and the green hydrogen economy hit the lubes industry.

With semiconductor chips in short supply globally, Goldman Sachs estimates that car makers are likely to see up to $20bn (£14bn) wiped off their operating profit.

Japan's ministry of economy, trade and industry has stated that car production has fallen by over 19% in the last month. Similar figures have been reported in China whose "Golden September, Silver October", usually the time when consumers make purchases, has seen an auto sales slump in September from the previous year. 

The poor Autumn figures were due to the domestic power crunch caused partly by the shortage of coal and prolonged global chip shortage that has forced many major automakers to idle or curtail production, said Chen Shihua, a senior official at China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

September 2021 saw the lowest number of European passenger car registrations since 1995, with the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) attributing the figures largely to the semiconductor shortage.   

UK car dealers have also felt the pinch with Pendragon cutting 1,800 jobs in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

An additional impact on the lubes industry has come from the green hydrogen economy, reports Fuels and Lubes. Sharbel Luzuriaga, project manager at Kline, stating that consumption of finished lubricants is likely to diminish in several sectors, with preliminary estimates showing the impact of the deployment of hydrogen fuel cell trucks.