Microchip shortage blamed for short supply of new vehicles, especially pickups

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With auto plants shut down due to a shortage of microchips, dealers are sold out of some models of vehicles.

This lot at Performance Ford would normally be full of pickups and other vehicles but is empty due to a shortage of vehicles which are either not being produced or are sitting waiting for microchips. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

A lot that is normally packed with F-150 trucks at Performance Ford in Windsor has only two in it, and those are sold.

“We’ve ran out of all F-150s for now,” sales manager Mark Vrecic.

James Godfrey, the sales manager at Eastway Toyota which is part of the Rafih group, said Chrysler Pacificas are hard to come by too.

“The Rafih Automotive Group owns three different Chrysler stores. Things like the Pacificas, the Siennas, they are hot sellers. We can’t get enough,” said Godfrey, adding that he’s sold out of Toyota pickups as well.

  • Microchip shortage extends shutdown at Windsor Assembly Plant — again

The supply problem is the result of a worldwide shortage of semiconductors, which are used in the microchips found in many electronics. It’s the same shortage that has shut down the Windsor Assembly Plant since late March.

Because of Toyota’s size, its microchip manufacturers want to keep the company as a client, so they are still able to make many vehicles but only about half as many as usual.

Greg Layson from Automotive News Canada said that’s the norm..

“I just spoke to a dealer group this week who has 20 stores and they have roughly half the inventory this week that they had a year ago,” Layson said.

He said Ford is building F-150s but they are being parked waiting for microchips. General Motors is building and selling pickups but without a chip that governs fuel consumption, so he said those trucks might not be as good on gas as they would normally.

Hot market for used cars

The shortage is also driving up the demand for used vehicles, but the supply of those is getting low too, he said. Layson said if you can trade yours in, now’s a good time.

“You’ll probably get more because dealers are scrambling for used cars right now,” said Layson, and that goes for used pickups as well.

Layson said people ordering new vehicles will likely have to wait an additional six weeks to get what they want.  There are vehicles on lots, but they are likely left overs that aren’t as popular, he said.

He expects the microchip shortage to last until May of next year.

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