TOKYO—A fire at a factory of one of the world’s leading auto chip makers has added to the troubles of car makers that already have slashed production because of a semiconductor shortage.
The fire Friday left a swath of charred equipment in the factory owned by a subsidiary of Renesas Electronics Corp. in Hitachinaka, northeast of Tokyo. The company said it would take at least a month to restart the damaged operations.
Shares of Japan’s three leading car makers— Toyota Motor Corp. , Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. —all fell by more than 3% on Monday, worse than the overall market, while Renesas shares were down 4.9%.
Renesas said heat from an electrical problem inside a single piece of equipment caused the fire and contaminated clean rooms needed to make semiconductors. It said two-thirds of the chips made at the fire-affected factory were automotive chips.
Renesas’s chief executive, Hidetoshi Shibata, said Sunday the impact on global chip supplies would be significant. Mariko Semetko, a credit analyst at Moody’s Japan, said the fire was likely to damp the recovery of global auto production this year, while auto makers said they were still assessing the impact.