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Computer chip shortages are having a big impact on the auto industry

Posted at 5:15 PM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 23:12:39-04

BRAZOS COUNTY, TEXAS — New week, new shortage.

We've brought you details on many from the pandemic, including the rising price of poultry during the Superbowl and the shortening supply of chlorine as the 2021 pool season opened up, but now the auto industry is facing a shortage of their own.

A global computer chip shortage is impacting the auto industry big time, including repair shops right here in the Brazos valley, but not in a way you might think.

Local economists say there's only one thing to blame.

"Well you know what, we seem to have tight supplies in all kinds of stuff and it all seems to come from the turmoil of the pandemic. Labor shortages to folks needing to make stuff and computer chips are the next one," David Anderson, a Professor and Extension Economist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service says.

And these little things, go in everything.

"Even in simple things like navigation system in vehicles, driver assistance, technology for parking, reversing," Tony Ha, Service Manager at Gladney Automotive Solutions said.

Ha says if there's a shortage of computer chips, makers are put in a bind, like halting production, which leads many to wonder if the wait of a new car outweighs the price of simply fixing what you already have.

"Interest rates are lower and there is stimulus money, so people are waiting to go out and buy new cars. Manufactures can't keep up with it because of the chip supply. Customers are having to hold out. Some are kind of having decisions made for them and saying 'I guess I just have to fix what I have now'," Ha added.

With chip shortages and above-average waits on a new vehicle, some are forced to put off their new car purchase, which keeps this auto repair shop pretty busy.

"We are thankful for that. We review each situation case by case and see what the customer's plans are for the vehicle," Ha said.

From personal experience, Ha says, recently his wife was in the market for a new car, but due to this exact issue, they weren't able to bring one home.

"We were looking for a Toyota. We were looking for a 4-runner and the one she wanted, they can't make right now because there's a certain chip for a safety feature that they can't get right now," Ha said.

Ha says modern cars have hundreds and hundreds of computer chips and says you may have to wait a little longer on your next new car purchase.