We’ve created a society that relies on computers for just about every aspect of our lives. When computers work correctly, they make our lives easier and much more efficient.
However, when there’s a shortage of chips, it delays production. Manufacturers of everything from gaming systems to vehicles are experiencing production delays. So how is the chip shortage affecting RV life? Let’s take a look!
What Is the Chip Shortage?
Many of the high-tech devices we use rely on semiconductor chips. The shortage stems from a production crisis that started in 2020, has continued in 2021, and will likely carry on into 2022. It affects a wide range of products in terms of production.
This is causing delays for those looking to purchase the latest video game system or a new vehicle. The automotive industry is one of the largest industries impacted by the shortage as braking systems, backup cameras, and power steering require semiconductor chips to function correctly.
What Caused the Microchip Chip Shortage?
The microchip shortage initially began as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The entire world came to a grinding halt, which caused delays in almost every product.
As the world started to adjust to the new normal in 2020, the U.S. government created restrictions making it more difficult for the largest chip manufacturer in China to work with American companies.
As a result of the new restrictions, many companies switched to using Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited and Samsung as their primary chip suppliers. It wasn’t ideal for the companies to take on a massive influx of new clients as they were already running at maximum capacity.
In 2021, the worst drought in more than 50 years hit Taiwan, which is responsible for 63% of the semiconductor market share. This has resulted in the island having to truck in water to maintain chip production.
When rumors started circulating that there was the possibility of a microchip shortage in the future, some large manufacturers started creating a stockpile.
Sound familiar? It was very similar to how many people started creating reserves of toilet paper early in the pandemic. Some manufacturers ordered two or three times their normal amount to avoid running out of chips and slowing production. Doing so has allowed them to fulfill orders on time.
Has the Chip Shortage Affected RV Production?
Some RV components use the same chips required by vehicle manufacturers. While these are some of the best chips on the market, RV manufacturers are often a lower priority than major car manufacturers, who order many more chips than RV manufacturers.
Almost all RV manufacturers have faced shortages of products and appliances as a result of the chip shortage. Manufacturers have had to make adjustments to appliances and other electronics. The brands and models for microwaves, TVs, and air conditioners were all whatever the manufacturer could get their hands on.
Has the Chip Shortage Affected Truck Production?
If you’re in the market for a new truck, you’ve likely seen the impact of the chip shortage here as well. While vehicle sales initially took a nosedive during the pandemic, they quickly came back with a vengeance. With production slowing due to the shortage, many dealerships are operating on a limited supply of vehicles and even charging premium prices.
Massive parking lots sit full of vehicles ready to go, minus the chips. Once these vehicles receive the chips, you’ll start to see dealership lots with an ample supply of trucks.
Which Major Truck Brands Have Been Affected?
The chip shortage has essentially affected every truck brand. Some manufacturers have halted production on certain vehicles to use their chip supply on their most popular and profitable vehicles. Let’s look at how the shortage has specifically affected each truck brand.
General Motors made the tough decision in July 2021 to temporarily halt production on the 2021 Chevy Silverado. This means plants in Michigan, Indiana, and Mexico will cease production. The Silverado HD plants aren’t immune to the shortage either, as they’ve needed to slow production but not stop completely.
Chevy has also had to redesign some of the components of their vehicles, including the Silverado. One redesign was eliminating the stop-start feature found on several vehicles. Eliminating this unnecessary feature allows Chevy to extend their supply of chips as long as possible.
Ram Trucks weren’t exempt from the chip shortage. The company had to halt production on both the award-winning Ram 1500 and Ram 1500 TRX due to the lack of microchips. The halt lasted a week but still had a massive impact on the supply of Ram trucks.
However, shutting down the production line for a week was just the start for Ram. The company has decided to simplify the 2022 Ram 1500 to minimize the number of chips required.
Only the Tradesmen and Big Horn models will have the Quad Cab trim. The trucks will lack some features, such as air suspension, a sunroof, and power running boards. If you’re considering a 2022 Ram, double-check the options list before signing on the dotted line.
Ford has taken a massive hit in production, especially in the second quarter of 2021. Some estimates are that Ford has lost 50% of its production, and sales have fallen by 33% during this time.
The Kansas City and Dearborn, Mich., plants have also faced shutdowns and even cut production shifts. Like other manufacturers, Ford has had to get creative to fulfill orders and keep customers happy. This does involve cutting production of other vehicles such as the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus to extend their current supply of chips.
How Long Is the Microchip Shortage Expected to Last?
Early estimates for the microchip shortage say it’ll last a couple of years. This means that 2021 will likely be the toughest in terms of the shortage and that conditions will improve slowly throughout 2022.
The CEO of STMicroelectronics, Jean-Marc Chery, sees a return to normal after the first half of 2023. With so many industries dependent on chips, the solution to the problem is time. However, it’s important to remember that many factors outside the manufacturers’ control can change this at any minute.
The chip shortage has affected a tremendous amount of production lines, RVs and trucks included. Manufacturers do whatever they can to keep their assembly lines running.
While it can be frustrating, it’s important to remember they’re doing all they can, and they’re likely just as unhappy. How has the chip shortage affected you as a customer?
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