What is a semiconductor and why is there a shortage?

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  • #178483 Reply
    Brydo
    Participant

    ​​What is a semiconductor?
    A semiconductor or microchip is an integral component in almost all electrical devices. Everything from an electric toothbrush to an Airbus features a mass of semiconductors that control the behaviour of the product. A modern car, whether it is electric or piston-powered, can have up to 3,000 semiconductors in its various powertrain, infotainment and control systems.

    Why is there a shortage?
    Until the pandemic, the supply of semiconductors was manageable. When the pandemic hit, demand for items such as laptops, tablets and home printers rocketed. At the same time, demand for cars crashed as dealerships across the world were forced to close their doors. Car plants were also shuttered as workers were ordered to stay at home.

    Due to the nature of the automotive supply industry, which operates on an ‘on demand’ or ‘just in time’ supply system, semiconductor deliveries were diverted to the electronics companies. And, just like the toilet roll shortages of 2020, many manufacturers sought to secure production by snapping up any additional supply.

    As a result, when car manufacturing resumed at full speed, semiconductors had become a rare commodity. To compound the issue, in March 2021 a fire at one of the world’s biggest semiconductor factories – run by Renesas in Japan – severely restricted global supply. The plant was responsible for supplying Toyota, Nissan and Honda and is only now starting to produce semiconductors in large numbers.

    How bad is it and when will the situation improve?
    Toyota, Stellantis, Ford, Nissan, BMW and Renault, have all been forced to reduce production volumes in recent months as they struggle to secure enough semiconductors. Earlier this month, JLR said that it expected the chip shortage to continue throughout this year.

    When will it improve? Here’s the bad news. Even the most optimistic of industry supply experts expects shortages to continue for at least the next six months. Some reckon we could be well into next year before production hits pre-pandemic levels and waiting lists start to drop. ​

    A typical modern car contains around 3,000 of these. And they’re currently in very short supply…

    The only person who got all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe.
    Anything i post over three lines long please assume it is an article lol.

Viewing 13 replies - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #178491 Reply
    gilders
    Participant

    It doesn’t help when manufacturers won’t let you add a specific option, but it comes as a “pack”.

    For example, I’d would always spec a car with Adaptive cruise control.

    If I try to add this 1 item on a Mini the cost is £4,100 because it also adds –

    Automatic Air conditioning, Comfort Access, Extended storage, Front arm rest, front heated seats, Driving Assistant pack, Concierge Service, Head-up-display, Mini Navigation system, Real Time Traffic Information, Visual Boost Radio, Comfort Pack, Driving Assistance Pack and Navigation Plus Pack (inc. Enhanced Bluetooth with wireless charging, Enhanced Bluetooth with USB Audio).

    1 option not only comes as a “pack”, but also requires almost every other “pack” to be selected. This is such a waste of semi conductors.

    Although Mini is an extreme case with multiple “packs” being required for 1 item, almost all manufacturers require a “pack” of options when you may only want 1.

    #178494 Reply
    ChrisK
    Participant

    I know what you mean gilders as I wanted a useful heated windscreen on my next car, cost £370 but you can only have it if you also order the wireless charging at another £400 odd quid.

    Goes without saying I gave that one a miss but they lose out on another £370 and I lose out on the heated windscreen.

    Thing is I can and have bought perfectly good mobile phone charging mats from Amazon for £7 so you can see how much car manufactures are making on these tiny but expensive inclusions and can fore go a few customers turning their nose up at the offer.

    Micro chips besides I don’t think all of the hold ups in delivery is all down to lack of micro-chips though its the greater problem at the moment and think energy consumption by these large factories, particularly in Europe is being curtailed though they won’t say-so because they won’t want to let the Russian know they got the west over a barrel.

    #178663 Reply
    struth
    Participant

    will  be more shortages now with restrictions on russia as they produce much of the fancy metals etc that go into cars…

    Current Car: Hyundai Kona Premium EV...2 way 40kg hoist
    Last Car: Toyota C-HR Excel Hybrid...4 way 80kg hoist

    #178677 Reply
    rox
    Participant

    I agree gilders and that’s why if a car don’t come with acc as standard then it’s off my list, it’s one very important thing i must have now and makes a huge difference for me.. I use it 95% of the time. last time mini, bmw, mercedes, volvo and a few others just where not viable because of acc not coming as standard.

    As for the chip shortage, the western car makers who cancelled their chip orders really made a big mistake and i don’t think they’ll ever get the quota back. Meanwhile the eastern car makers are seeing a huge increase in the market share and cannot keep up with orders as they do not have that capacity for the increased demand in there cars as many offer alot more as standard and just have some different trim levels.

     

    #178720 Reply
    Elliot
    Participant

    I hope that all Western car manufacturers have stopped exporting vehicles to Russia as that will help the situation.

    #178737 Reply
    rox
    Participant

    The likelyhood is it won’t as that flow will also include raw materials and alot of the energy needed to make cars and other stuff in the eu and all those cars going there will be LH Drive so not really helpful to the RH DRIVE markets. That would be my guess.

    #178739 Reply
    DumfriesDik
    Participant

    I hope that all Western car manufacturers have stopped exporting vehicles to Russia as that will help the situation.

    I hope you are right.

    Mazda CX5 is my DD
    VW ID3 Max on order 5 Nov 21

    #178743 Reply
    ChrisK
    Participant

    No need to stop exports as the cars are actually made in Russia for instance the VW Tiguan though of course not for our market or we wouldn’t be waiting so long for deliveries.

    300 thousand VW Tiguan produced in Russia

    All the greed of Western companies with no scruples.

    #178745 Reply
    struth
    Participant

    French sea police have seized a ship in the Channel that authorities suspect belongs to a Russian company in one of the first visible displays of the West enforcing sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

    The cargo vessel transporting cars, which was headed for St Petersburg, is “strongly suspected of being linked to Russian interests targeted by the sanctions”, said Capt Veronique Magnin, of the French Maritime Prefecture.

    The ship was diverted to the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer in northern France between 3am and 4am local time, Magnin said, adding that checks were being carried out by customs officials and that the ship’s crew was “being cooperative”.

    The US Treasury Department has issued blocking sanctions against the vessel saying it was owned by a subsidiary of Russian lender Promsvyazbank, one of the Russian entities hit by US sanctions.

    Current Car: Hyundai Kona Premium EV...2 way 40kg hoist
    Last Car: Toyota C-HR Excel Hybrid...4 way 80kg hoist

    #178750 Reply
    Elliot
    Participant

    Just stop sending the chips there and divert them to the European plants.

    #178754 Reply
    rox
    Participant

    Strongly suspected of being linked to Russian interests targeted by the sanctions (either it is or it isn’t) plus the vessel is owned by by a subsidiary of Russian lender Promsvyazbank, one of the Russian entities hit by US sanctions, for example if you buy a ship on hp a bank owns it till you pay it off, just like mb own our cars and ultimately the banks that run it..

    which says to me that the cargo might not be.. This situation is only going to get out of hand fast, if ships cargos are held to ransom as the owner might be someone or a company that sanction’s are being placed on, when it was already at sea, it will end up tit for tat and the gas will stop flowing to germany and other eu countries which is why they against banning them from the swift system. Which will end up in a full blown conflict, which is imo what they want and will end badly for the whole planet.

    #178761 Reply
    struth
    Participant

    france will no doubt find a use for them if ness lol.  but i guess if its flagged to them then they had to act. its already out of our control tbh, as a peaceful country has been attacked/invaded. and it was all so avoidable.

    Current Car: Hyundai Kona Premium EV...2 way 40kg hoist
    Last Car: Toyota C-HR Excel Hybrid...4 way 80kg hoist

    #178893 Reply
    William Monaghan

    Twenty years ago there were three major semiconductor manufacturing sites within 30 miles of Glasgow NEC, Motorola, National Semiconductors alas no more all transferred to Far East along with skilled jobs.

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