If we asked you: What hardware goes into a car? You’d go ahead and name all the greased up components that broke on your ‘92 Toyota Corolla last year. But these days, almost every part on a modern vehicle requires some sort of computer chip or sensor. They’re basically computers on wheels, and if there’s a semiconductor shortage, companies like Ford can’t manufacture vehicles. Easy as that.
What prompted the shortage?
Following a cascade of nationwide lockdowns throughout the world, the newly imprisoned human population turned to the one thing they can do indoors: play with gadgets. This boost in sales of smartphones, TVs, gaming consoles, PCs and a whole stack of tech products put increased pressure on semiconductor-manufacturers for… even more semiconductors.
It eventually evolved into a full-blown semiconductor shortage, which has kept many hardware brands like Nvidia, Sony and Microsoft from producing (and selling) at max capacity. The shortage has now hit automakers across the globe, including Toyota, Volkswagen and Nissan. Now Ford will have to scale back on production of its most profitable vehicle: the monstrous F-150 bakkie.
Actually called a ‘truck’ (it’s still far too small to warrant that moniker in SA), the Ford F-150’s production shifts in Michigan, US, will be cut in half temporarily. In the same breath, it’s cutting shifts in Missouri from three to two. This massive cut in production is solely based on the fact that Ford can’t get its hands on enough semiconductors to roll out new bakkies for the foreseeable future.
Although this change may not affect South Africans directly, it speaks toward the state of the tech industry as a whole. Cars make up a significant portion of semiconductor purchases in the world, which means the production of everyone’s dream vehicle may be cut or halted in the near future. That’s not even mentioning smartphones, smartwatches, TVs or just about any tech you love to hoard.
Source: The Verge