'Selling like crazy': Microchip shortage trickles down to local automotive dealers
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Car dealerships, like Chatham Chrysler have sparse lots these days, because their inventory has dried up, as a result of idled factories.
“About a month ago it hit home where the inventory stopped coming in and now we’re kind of in a holding pattern,” says Mike Hogue, general manager of Chatham Chrysler.
Hogue says pickup trucks in particular are difficult to acquire, and the used car industry is also booming.
“It’s very hard to acquire used cars right now,” says Hogue. “Used cars are selling like crazy.”
“Currently we have 50 or 60 used cars in stock, where normally we would have 30.”
Hogue says consumers will either have to be patient and wait for assembly to ramp back up, or be flexible in their options.
“It’s tough to get exactly what you want, in options and colours.”
This is the just latest wave of impact, from a shortage of microchips, felt by manufacturers around the world.
Modern cars use electronics for just about everything in a vehicle, from the braking system to entertainment components.
And some vehicles, like the Windsor-built Chrysler Pacifica, require multiple microchips, according to Dave Cassidy, president of Unifor Local 444.
“We are relying on some outside source we have no control over and that’s the frustrating,” he says.
Workers at Windsor Assembly just found out Tuesday they will be laid-off for a ninth straight week starting May 17th as Stellantis tries to manage the crisis.
Cassidy predicts the shortage could last through until 2022.
Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association agrees.
“We will likely see this wave for the next couple of quarters,” says Volpe.
Volpe says automakers are picking and choosing which factories make the most profitable vehicles and sending microchips to those facilities.
Overseas manufacturers continue to churn out microchips, but the demand for consumer electronics is also making the shortage worse.
Volpe says the shortage isn’t getting any better.
“Those of us making cars or parts, that means it’s gotten worse, because we’re further down the calendar,” he says.