In addition to Clorox wipes, toilet paper, gas and countless other everyday products, you can add microchips to the short supply list we’ve encountered in recent months. Microchips are used for just about every type of electronic, including new cars.
Because of the global microchip shortage, it’s already becoming difficult to find certain makes or models of vehicles due to the fact that several automakers have had to reduce or halt production. So, if you’ve got your eyes on a particular new car, truck, SUV or van, NOW is the time to buy it before it’s gone!
What caused the microchip shortage?
The COVID-19 pandemic initially slowed down production of most consumer products (including cars themselves), but the shortage on microchips continues because of a few different factors:
- The pandemic created a sudden demand for more home computers, iPads, Chromebooks and other devices to make working from home or virtual schooling possible. Thus, there was also a sudden demand for more microchips.
- A major semiconductor manufacturing factory in Japan—Renesas Electronics Corporation—caught on fire in March of this year. They produce microchips for several big auto companies, but had to stop production to repair and replace equipment as well as investigate the cause of the fire.
- The Suez Canal was blocked for 6 days in March when a large container ship got lodged sideways in the canal. About 10% of global trade goes through the canal every day, so that also had an effect on microchips making their way to the U.S.
In addition to these 3 factors, demand for more and better microchips also added to the shortage because of the release of the new Xbox and Playstation gaming consoles.
Why does my car need a microchip?
Cars today use microchips (also called semiconductors) for a lot of different purposes. If you take off the outer shell of any vehicle, it basically looks like a rolling computer. Chips are used for all of the displays in your vehicle (stereo, backup cameras, dashboard, A/C and heat knobs, etc.) as well as parts of the engine, anti-lock brake system and any power control buttons (power windows, power locks, etc.).
And that’s just for your standard gas-powered vehicle! If you’re looking at an electric vehicle (EV), it may be powered by thousands of microchips.
How has the microchip shortage affected auto manufacturers?
Almost every major automaker has been affected, but Jeep has been hit particularly hard by the microchip shortage. Stellantis — the manufacturer of Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and others — announced in April that they were cutting way back on production of new Jeep Grand Cherokees and temporarily laying off workers.
Since the Jeep Grand Cherokee is the best selling Jeep vehicle, the automaker is doing everything they can to keep production moving, but you can expect this vehicle and others to be in short supply for a number of months.
Don’t wait to find the Jeep you want!
Bryant Motors still has a wide selection of Jeep Grand Cherokees and many other Jeep models in stock. If you’re in the market for a new or used car, come see us and we’ll help you find the right fit!