Microchip shortage keeps finished cars in park

Thousands of cars can't be used because they're missing the tiny piece
Posted at 10:32 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 22:32:40-04

(WSYM) — A shortage of microchips is affecting production of everything from cars to microwaves.

Microchips are in everything from cars, to consumer appliances, to laptops and more. The auto industry has been hit especially hard, as microchips are responsible for powering functions like brakes and windshield wipers. In fact, in Michigan, thousands of cars are—save a microchip—ready to be sold but can’t without the small piece.

“Thousands and thousands of cars built by our local GM plant can’t move because they’re missing a 14-cent microchip,” said Michigan Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin of the state’s 8th district on her Twitter page this month. “Without that piece, they cannot be sold; they cannot be moved off the lot.”

Slotkin was speaking from a lot on the Michigan State University campus, where cars that don’t have the necessary semiconductors sit unused.

Recently, Representative Slotkin and her colleagues in the House and Senate have been hard at work on bills to ramp up production in the United States; last month the Senate approved just over $50 million for the cause.

Slotkin says she’s worried about the effects the shortage could have on other sectors, like defense and pharmaceuticals.

The shortage of new cars has partly caused a rise in demand for used cars.

“There’s been a shortage of new cars out there recently due to the chips, which has driven the pre-owned market up, I would say, a pretty significant amount,” said Phil Jimenez, a manager at Sigma Auto Sales Group.

A spokesman for one of the nation’s leading semiconductor companies told FOX 17 on the phone Friday that getting more production online isn’t something factories can do quickly, and said a lot of semiconductor manufacturers got caught off guard when demand didn’t slow down as much as they had anticipated.