Hyundai WRC boss lifts lid on ‘nightmare’ parts supply issues
The South Korean brand says it is facing a “nightmare” situation in securing parts for use on its i20 N WRC cars due to a global shortage of several raw materials.
The automotive sector has been hit hard by a shortage of computer chips and electronic components, which first became apparent during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This problem has since been affected by rising energy costs that have affected suppliers, a factor exacerbated after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The problem has not escaped the motorsports industry with Hyundai’s assistant team principal Julien Moncet revealing the struggle his team has faced to ensure they have enough parts for its cars this year and for 2023.
Moncet says many of the team’s suppliers are struggling to secure raw materials, while costs have also skyrocketed to add to the supply chain headache.
As a result, Hyundai is already planning next season with some components facing a six-month delivery delay.
“We damaged quite a lot of parts in Kenya and so on and making sure we could increase our stock again was our main focus over the last few days,” Moncet told Autosport.
“I would say it’s a nightmare. This [the shortage of key materials] is really difficult, it does not only have an impact on motorsport but on the whole economy.
“Parts that we used to be able to get in days and weeks take a few months to arrive and in some cases even longer.
“It’s really tricky because some suppliers have had issues with COVID and then there’s Brexit and the impact of the situation in Ukraine.
Dani Sordo, Candido Carrera, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1
Photo by: Hyundai Motorsport
“All suppliers lack raw materials. Costs have also skyrocketed, making life much more difficult for us as we have to overhaul our entire supply chain process.
“For example, we are already working on parts for next year, which is six months in advance, because per minute for certain parts, it is a six-month delivery time.
“It’s absolutely crazy. It’s changed a lot in terms of development capacity. We have to make sure we have enough [parts] for production and for rallies. I can tell you it’s not easy.
To combat the problem, Moncet says his team is exploring ways to increase parts production from its base in Alzenau, Germany.
“I think Toyota has a lot more internal capability than we do,” Moncet added. “I think it’s good for them. When you can’t get the parts from outside suppliers, you have to find another way, and one of them is to increase our internal capacity.
“It’s something we’re working on but you need tools, people and space, it’s not something we can do in two weeks.”
Despite the parts supply problem, Hyundai continued its preparation for this weekend’s Rally Estonia by carrying out a pre-event test at its new test site in Finland.