The global shortage of computer chips is becoming a very big problem for almost every manufacturer and industry around the world. One of the worst industries hit is the automotive sector. As early as last year, several automakers already felt the effects. One of the first victims was Volkswagen who had to temporarily stop production in December 2020 due to the shortage.
One of the main drivers of the shortage was caused by the pandemic which forced businesses to close. This resulted in the global economy plunging into recession last year. As people were indoors, cars weren’t selling as much. As a result, automakers cut back on orders as production temporarily stopped. Semiconductor manufacturers then shifted to supply to electronic manufacturers following the high demand for smartphones, gaming devices, and laptops.
As vehicle sales bounce back, automakers have found themselves waiting in line for chips and semiconductors. To this day, a growing number of manufacturers are having a hard time securing supplies. Several automakers, such as Mercedes-Benz, Mini, and Chevrolet, have already scheduled a temporary pause in production. Meanwhile, others like Ford and Jeep have decided to cut down production at select facilities. According to a report by CNN, the chip shortage places the production of 1.3 million cars at risk globally in the first quarter alone.
For those wondering why these computer chips and semiconductors are important, it’s because they’re used in almost every item we use today. These include kitchen appliances, smartphones, computers, and laptops. Unfortunately, the chip shortage is going from bad to worse, and it looks it will take some time to recover. A fire recently hit the Renesas chip factory in Japan, which reportedly supplies about two-thirds of all chips used by the auto industry.
What does that mean for us, the consumers? Well, due to the reduced supply of products caused by the chip shortage, it can drive up prices of goods. As long there is a lack of supply, chances are vehicles will end up costing more to purchase. Don’t plan on buying a car anytime soon? Well, it’s also affecting other everyday gadgets, including our smartphones, laptops, and even gaming consoles.
So far, there’s not a lot we can do about the chip and semiconductor disruption. Assuming the worst, it is expected to last up until 2022. For now, expect more automakers to announce temporary production cuts at plants as they wait for supplies to arrive.