Local car manufacturers dealing with the impact of global chip shortage

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Manufacturers are still struggling to deal with the impact of the global chip shortage, causing some to worry it will last at least another two years.

In Rochester, many cars no longer in the lots because of the shortage.

“I’ve been in the car business almost 40 years. This is probably the most widespread disruption to the manufacturing industry and auto industry that I’ve ever seen,” Rochester Automobile Dealers Association President Brad McAreavy said.

McArevy said the continued demand for semiconductor chips is leaving many in the auto industry not sure what will come next, with some predicting the shortage will last through 2023.

“I happened to be in Michigan this past weekend. I drove by a lot where literally hundreds, maybe thousand pickup trucks were parked there,” McAreavy said.

“They’ve been manufactured but they don’t have the semiconducter chips that they need in order to deliver them to dealers so that they can sell them to the market, so we’re not seeing anything at this stage in the game that would suggest that there’s an end to this issue right now,” McAreavy said.

“The shortage that people talk about was really a self-created shortage by the automobile industry,” RIT microelectronic engineering professor Dr. Robert Pearson said.

Pearson said when the pandemic hit, car sales were projected to fall dramatically and a lot of orders were canceled for the chips, but the sales remained strong.

“It takes 6 months to a year to fill an order in the semiconductor industry and that’s after an order gets re-started and what happened was when the automotive chip orders were canceled the semi-conductor chip industry turned to producing the wireless chips, the computer chips, the communication chips that everybody needed in the pandemic,” Pearson said.

Pearson said that left the auto industry locked out.

McAreavy said if you’re out there in the car market and shopping around right now your options will be limited.

“If you have flexibility and you don’t need to be in the market right now, you’re better off probably sitting right for the moment and waiting to see if things improve,” McAreavy said.

Pearson said while this shortage has hit the auto industry pretty hard, the increased demand in chips has actually caused a projected growth of the semiconductor industry of nearly 30 percent, meaning soon an increase of jobs for those in the industry.

Congress currently has the Chips Act which is designed to put billions of dollars into helping the semi-conductor infrastructure address the current shortage and future increase demand.