Chip Shortages Grow Severe

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Chip Shortages Ford F-150

If you want to know why there are shortages in car audio, look to the car companies.

Semiconductor chip shortages are so severe that auto makers are cutting back production of new cars.

Honda and Nissan said they will sell a quarter million fewer cars in their current financial year due to semiconductor shortages. Ford has cut production of the F150 due to semiconductor shortages and General Motors is cutting back production at three plants due to chip shortages.

Two senators have urged the White House to use the National Defense Authorization Act to boost production of semiconductors, because without such action, the shortages threaten our economic recovery from COVID-19, they said, according to Reuters.

And some of the same chips, that are found in new cars are also found in car audio, as well as in other consumer goods from toasters to home audio.

IC chips, capacitors, DSP chips  and Bluetooth chips are among the parts in short supply in car audio.

Transistors found in remote starters are the same shared by those digital thermometers now used at doctor’s offices and other locations to check your temperature before you enter.

Capacitors used in car audio can also be used in a car or airplane, in home audio sensors, microwaves, or toaster ovens, said Derek Schmiedl Executive VP of NAV-TV.

A DSP chip used in a 12 volt product can be used in a car, in professional audio, home audio or a children’s toy, he said.

Cardboard used in packaging is in short supply, as are many raw materials.  Fewer people are working and there’s fewer people to mine the raw materials due to the pandemic.

As we have already reported, parts factories shut down early in the pandemic and took 3 to 4 months to reopen. Shortly after, they were flooded by orders and couldn’t catch up.  To make matters worse, there was a fire at the AKM chip plant in Japan which impacted DSP chips-and-digital to analog chips used in new cars and car and home audio.

Microcontrollers that control almost anything with a screen and keyboard, from fancy coffee makers to car radios to car electronics, are in short supply.  Controllers for 12 volt DSPs or amplifiers have protection circuits that use some kind of small microcontroller,” said Audiofrog President Andy Wehmeyer.

Additionally, the materials used in the chips themselves are in short supply, impacting again, many consumer products, cars and more.

“There’s much more demand for consumer products than anybody thought there would be and much more demand for automobiles than anybody thought there would be because everybody in the world is staying home and buying stuff because they can’t eat out and travel and it appears nobody foresaw this. Every level of the supply chain in China was caught flat footed,” Wehmeyer added.

Photo: MotorTrend

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