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Anjani Trivedi

Cars Are About to Get Dirtier, and Pricier

Automakers are rarely prepared for setbacks — just look at the semiconductor shortage. They need to start planning better.

Fasten your seatbelts.

Fasten your seatbelts.

Photographer: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg

The world’s biggest car companies have a lot to fear from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And it’s not just production shutdowns or supply chain snarls.

As the war rattles commodities from nickel to wheat and corn, upending exchange trades and casting doubts around sustained supply, a material key to auto giants making cleaner cars is also among them: palladium. Prices are so high that thefts of the parts that use the metal — the catalytic converter — have risen sharply in the U.S. and elsewhere.