Car industry doing well despite pandemic-related shortages
The car manufacturing industry is experiencing a chip shortage.
After months cooped up at home, more people have been hitting the road, and some drivers are looking to sweeten up their rides.
The demand for cars and accessories is rising, but supply chain issues are causing some roadblocks.
The car industry has come together to overcome shortage challenges.
For the first time in two years, auto industry professionals are gathering at the Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA, trade show.
Presenters will unveil thousands of innovations this week, even as they deal with a microchip shortage that’s drastically cut car production.
Shipments have been delayed, causing backlogs in car manufacturing.
"From washing machines to motorcycles to cars, everything relies on chips," said Dave Pericak, Ford’s director of future electric vehicles. "It’s really a global problem we’re all trying to solve together."
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Manufacturers have had to find ways to reduce their dependence on microchips and to get raw materials.
SEMA experts say sales are booming despite the pandemic.
"The supply chain has been hurt," said Mike Spagnola, SEMA’s vice president of product development and OE relations. "But overall business has been up because people stayed home and worked on their cars."
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The SEMA convention is where the backup camera and car-charging ports originated.
More than 100,000 people will attend SEMA. In 2019, more than 160,000 people attended, making it the second largest convention at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
This year, driverless features and off-roading features are popular as travel and consumer demand rise.
We’ve seen shortages. We’ve seen empty shelves. We’re trying to work with suppliers as much as we can as soon as we can, but really communication is key," said Kathryn Reinhardt, 4 Wheel Parts senior marketing manager. "If we know what’s coming, we can still sell it, make that consumer experience a good one, and then they’ll return back to us."
A SEMA representative says they expect the shortages to continue into next year, but they’re working around the issues and say there are still plenty of cars for drivers to buy.
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Electrifying new and old cars is increasingly popular, and so is customizing cars.
"There’s been a huge kink in the supply chain, and that’s where this comes into play. Restylers, regardless if there’s a supply chain shortage of products, they still need to find a way to operate their business," said Colby McLaughlin, the president of Trim Illusion. "It forces them to get creative, which is why it’s so awesome to see what we have here."