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Hagerty Employee

The chips are down: Why the semiconductor shortage is hobbling the auto industry | Hagerty Media

Today's cars are merely the boxes that the computers come in-a fact painfully illustrated earlier this year when numerous automakers shut down assembly lines due to a shortage of microprocessor chips. A modern vehicle uses dozens of chips to run everything from its engine controls to its stability and antilock braking systems to its in-car infotainment center.

Most major automakers were idling plants and scaling back well before the pandemic hit; 2016 to 2019 were the biggest years in the history of auto sales, each year selling more autos than the one before. Pandemic or not, the auto makers were scaling back. Then there are conflicting reports about how there is a glut of used cars, then there is NOT a glut of used cars and prices are going up rapidly because nobody is buying new cars, etc. I have no idea what to believe. I see about 10-15 car dealerships a week on my various wanderings around my area. The lots are full. If you want a vehicle, go buy one....

It seems that Toyota, and to a lessor extent, Hyundai are the only automakers to have not been devastated by this chip shortage. Better planning often wins the day as I recently read an article on how Toyota learned lessons from the tsuami ten years ago that crippled their supply chain so they've been able to develop a supply system that helps guarantee supply of chips as well as having a safety stock of them at all times. Hyundai admits they made a strategic "guess" that demand would rebound and it paid off as they never cancelled orders for chips like many other manufacturers did. So while its unfortunate that some makers are suffering, others take advantage because of superior planning and fewer knee-jerk reactions.

I could see a strategy of stockpiling chips coming back to bite you if there is a significant change in the electronics industry that instantly makes your inventory obsolete
Pit Crew

Modern cars are way OVER computerizes. Lets get back to the basics. Simple, easily fixed machines. The only chips in my still running 1970 car are in the paint !

[Looking up from under the hood of my '56]
"Funny, I hadn't noticed."

The weakest link in any plan is when you have to depend on someone else. We should fast track all permits and suspend many onerous regulations for domestic technology manufacturing. We should also give all new microchip manufacturing facilities in the U.S., owned by U.S. citizens, ten years of zero corporate income taxes and tax breaks for all domestic companies that support the industry (transportation, suppliers, production machinery). If you want to get serious you have to get serious.

The problem is today's generation of punks who don't want cars or even drivers licenses. These sloths are content sitting in their pajamas in their parent's basements smoking dope and playing online games day and night. The chips go to the gaming console makers and massive car factories shut down as a result.
Intermediate Driver

I don't know if I'm any more informed than before reading this article. Is it basically saying some automakers didn't put there order in?
Intermediate Driver

What shepherds2 said! I have been in the electronics industry for 40 years and I won't buy a new car due to all of the poor quality electronics in them. They build them fast, cheap, and to a price point, with little in the way manufacturing quality that I have seen. Put this stuff into cars that have to exist in all types of harsh environments and not surprisingly you get failures; and car companies get spare parts sales.

I work in a facility designed in the 70s and built in the 80s that is full of 70s era analog equipment that has been chugging away for nearly 40 years. All of the latest generation of knuckleheads want to go through and replace everything with digital. Most of the digital upgrades to date have gone obsolete within 10 years of installation - meanwhile the old analog equipment keeps chugging along. There is something to be said for keeping things simple - even if it won't link with your cellphone
New Driver

I love my 67 tbird. Not a chip in site. Still, a shortage of chips? ridiculous.

There is good and bad with all electronics old and new.  Todays are not as bad as some would like to make them out as most critics just don't understand them. 


The real problem is the reasons we have to have so many with over regulations.  


But with today electronics I got 300 HP reliably out of my HHR SS running 23 pounds of boost on pump gas. It ran 13's in the quarter and if I was dumb enough it could run 160 MPH top end. It also in daily driving got 26 MPG around town and 31 Highway, 


The only place the electronics let me down is the launch control was not great and it made it hard to hook the FWD up. If only it was AWD or RWD.