AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Semi-conductor chips are described as the brains or digital memory of much of the electronic equipment we use everyday.
Today, these chips are in short supply, and the cause seems to be a combination of factors, one of which is the increased demand in certain electronics during the pandemic.
“Chromebooks, those have been the ones we’ve seen the longest delays on just because practically every kid in America had to have a Chromebook,” said Brad Sanders, general manager at Westgate Computers.
Another is the limited manufacturing capacity to meet the demand and the China and U.S trade wars, since most of the companies that manufacture these chips are located in Asia.
“They’ve had some issues with production based on the location of these factories, shortage of the chemicals and materials you use to manufacture them,” said Sanders.
Semiconductors are also part of a car’s engine, GPS and safety system.
“Every little computer of the car has a semiconductor, each little sensor so whether it’s the safety side of it or it’s the bells and whistles we want,” said John Luciano, managing partner at Volkswagen and Toyota Street Dealership.
Automakers have also been struggling to get the chips they need after a brief slowdown in car sales at the start of the pandemic later turned into a sales increase, catching automakers and their chip suppliers off guard.
“What they’ll do a lot is looking at how they build cars, what orders, which models so the slow-moving stuff is probably not gonna’ get build this year,” said Luciano.
Local car dealers say their inventory has not yet been impacted by the semiconductor shortage but believe they will start seeing it in the next couple of months.
“We’re heading into March, which is a large automotive selling month, it could be different,” said Luciano.
Ones that have started to see the impact are used car dealers that depend on larger dealerships trade ins for inventory.
“The wholesalers would, I mean, they would just have less to offer, and they would have reach to out of town cities,” said Andrea Daniels, vice president of The Car Lot. ”The larger dealerships here in town, we haven’t had communication with. We just noticed no production and they would hang on to those use cars when we drive by.”
Local dealers say this is the best time to buy a car since interest rates and gas are at is lowest and as for computers, the recommendation is to be patient.