Officials in Volkswagen, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and Nissan say they were affected by the shortage and had to delay production of some models in order to keep other factories running.
Toyota said: We are evaluating supply restrictions for semiconductors and developing countermeasures to reduce the impact on production.
If the chip shortage continues, production cuts could reduce inventories of cars, trucks and SUVs for sale in the United States and other markets.
This comes at a time when the industry was just starting to replenish lost stocks when factories closed last spring to stop the spread of the new Corona virus.
Toyota was forced to slow production of the Tundra pick-up truck at a plant in San Antonio, Texas.
Ford decided to stop work at its assembly plant in Louisville, Kentucky, for a week. This factory collects the Escape and Lincoln Corsair models.
Fiat Chrysler has temporarily closed its auto factories in Brampton, Canada, and a small SUV factory in Toluca, Mexico.
While Volkswagen said in December: It was facing a slowdown in production due to shortages, and Nissan said: it had had to adjust production in Japan, but it had not seen much impact so far in the United States.
Industry officials say semiconductor companies have shifted production to consumer electronics during the worst slowdown in car sales last spring.
International automakers were forced to close factories to prevent the spread of the virus, but when the carmakers recovered, there were not enough chips.
And car manufacturers have in many cases stopped making cars with slow sales in order to shift chips to more important sectors of the market, including pickups and SUVs.
Cars are using semiconductors more than they have in the past for features such as infotainment, driver assistance and Bluetooth connections.
The growing shortage of chips required in cars is the latest example of how the semiconductor industry can have multiplier effects in products.
The problems started when outside factories that make chips were forced to close in the early stages of the epidemic.
The problem was exacerbated last July after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on 11 Chinese companies over allegations of labor abuse.
To make matters worse, schools competed on laptops with companies that required huge amounts of staff while working from home.
The chip shortage also forced Apple to delay the launch of the latest lineup of iPhones until late October and early November, more than a month after the flagship usually released its best-selling device.
The global market value of semiconductors is expected to reach $ 129 billion in 2025, nearly three times its size in 2019.