The Omicron variant could put pressure on a chronic shortage of microchips used in car production, the boss of car giant Nissan warned.
Makoto Uchida said it was too early to say when normal deliveries, and thus finished cars, would resume.
“I can’t give you a date. This new variant could put pressure on that, so how well we react will be crucial,” he told the BBC.
Products from cars, washing machines and smartphones depend on computer chips.
Some factories had to close when the pandemic first hit in 2020, leading to a backlog in the production of microchips, also known as semiconductors.
The impact was exacerbated by rising demand, with people working from home requiring laptops, tablets and webcams to do their jobs.
“As an industry, we have a shortage of semiconductors and how we recover from that is critical,” Uchida told the BBC.
Japan has banned inbound flights from abroad in response to international alarms about the ommicron variant first discovered in South Africa.
Mr Uchida’s comments come as Nissan announced its vehicle electrification strategy, which includes the proposed introduction of 23 electrified models by 2030, and the ambition that by 2026, 75% of European business sales will be electric vehicles. .
Earlier this year, Nissan announced a £1 billion investment to convert its Sunderland factory in the UK into an electric vehicle manufacturing hub.