- Volkswagen is stockpiling windows and windscreens amid a glass shortage in Europe, per the WSJ.
- Glass making requires large amounts of natural gas, which has become far more expensive.
- A German brewer told The Journal it had bought 50 million beer bottles to cope with shortages.
Volkswagen is stockpiling windows and windshields and brewers are bulk-buying beer bottles as a glass shortage threatens a new supply chain crisis in Europe.
The Wall Street Journal reported how companies in Europe are likely to be affected by a glass shortage being sparked by soaring energy costs.
Volkswagen, which Bloomberg Intelligence expects to overtake Tesla as the world's largest manufacturer of electric vehicles in 2024, said it was stockpiling components that use glass, such windows and windshields, and searching for new suppliers outside Europe, according to The Journal.
The automotive sector has endured numerous headwinds since the pandemic, including a semiconductor shortage and a spike in the price of lithium used to power EV batteries, which have all forced up vehicle costs.
Making glass involves melting sand, soda ash and limestone and requires large amounts of natural gas. Energy prices in Europe have soared since Russia invaded Ukraine.
According to ICIS, Germany gets about 40% of its natural gas from Russia, making moves by the Kremlin, which could include price hikes this winter, particularly acute in the country.
German beer maker Brauerei C. & A. Veltins, which normally buys bottles throughout the year, has purchased 50 million in one go – enough to last for 12 months – a spokesman told The Journal, because prices were rising by as much as 90%.
Glass shortages could also affect supply chains for other sectors as it is used for smartphone screens and to make bottles for products such as medicines and soft drinks.