Forty years in the past, nation singer Merle Haggard, in his tune, “Are the Good Occasions Actually Over for Good,” wished “a Ford and a Chevy would nonetheless final 10 years like they need to.”
Nicely, a lot of them do final 10 years and extra today, given the correct upkeep and relying on whether or not you will get alternative pc chips if a number of goes dangerous.
And judging from the plethora of phone calls providing to increase the guarantee on any form of mannequin, you wouldn’t assume there’s a scarcity of components of any type.
However clearly there may be.
Each Ford and Normal Motors, together with Toyota and different auto producers, are idling manufacturing at a few of their vegetation due to a world scarcity of pc chips that comprise the processing and reminiscence items of the fashionable digital pc.
The scarcity of chips, like so many different issues the previous yr and a half, is being blamed on COVID inflicting labor shortages and manufacturing shutdowns.
However COVID isn’t the one wrongdoer.
Issues, along with the worldwide pandemic, embody a commerce dispute with China, fires, drought and snowstorms.
Plus there’s a hovering demand for chips which might be now in every part from watches to kitchen home equipment.
Add to that miscalculations on provide and demand.
The pandemic precipitated an preliminary droop in auto gross sales as a result of few individuals had been travelling anyplace and confidence within the financial system was low. Automotive firms reacted by slimming down manufacturing and decreasing orders for components, together with pc chips.
Fashionable vehicles, in contrast to the Ford or Chevy we as soon as drove, include dozens of pc chips to regulate every part from braking to steering and engine administration.
Including to the stress on chip producers the pandemic precipitated a rush for dwelling workplace objects like laptops and sensible telephones, as many individuals transitioned to working from dwelling. There was an analogous rush for video games consoles. Demand for vehicles picked up.
It added as much as, as one author put it, to a “good storm” inflicting much less provide than demand.
As all the time, although, the provision finally will catch up however not earlier than the value of every part containing a chip, together with vehicles, goes up. It’s already occurring.
Appears to me it must be of concern that solely 12 p.c of pc chips at the moment are mentioned to be produced in the US, with the majority coming from Asia, together with Taiwan, South Korea and China.
The explanation for this, in fact, is it’s cheaper to outsource manufacturing of the chips to international locations the place labor prices much less and rules are fewer.
If this scarcity drives up costs sufficient, perhaps producers will discover it worthwhile to provide them within the U.S., however I wouldn’t wager on it.
I attempt to not fall into the behavior of too many aged people who ascribe to a different a part of Haggard’s lyrics: “Are we rollin’ down hill like a snowball headed for hell?”
However I can’t assist however mirror on this nation’s industrial would possibly when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, thrusting the U.S. into World Warfare II.
The American vehicle business rapidly and effectively began manufacturing elements and/or completed merchandise for army jeeps, vans, tanks and airplanes.
It’s a great factor they didn’t must import components from Asia.
This can be a far-fetched concept, however perhaps individuals making an attempt to promote these prolonged automotive warranties ought to, as a substitute, go to work constructing pc chips. However they’re most likely in India fairly than Bogue Chitto the place they attempt to deceive you into pondering that’s the place the calls are coming from.
Charlie Dunagin is editor and writer emeritus of the McComb Enterprise-Journal. He lives in Oxford.