Car Part Shortage: A small chip’s huge impact on supply of new vehicles


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The auto industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as demand for new vehicles dropped. Now that restrictions are being lifted and Tennesseans are hitting the road in droves.

Demand for new vehicles is surging. However, a parts shortage is having a huge impact on inventory levels.

It’s a tiny part, but it’s one that any new vehicle needs to operate – a semiconductor chip. “The semiconductor chip shortage that we’ve been seeing recently has definitely put a strain on new inventory for vehicles in the market,” says Megan Cooper, a spokesperson for AAA in Tennessee.

How does this impact car buyers? Low inventory levels mean that it will be harder to find the exact vehicle you want and your bargaining power will be limited when you go to make a purchase.

Cooper says that many drivers are simply deciding to delay buying a new car or truck. “What this means for drivers is it could mean that drivers will opt to hold on to their current vehicle, maybe for a little bit longer than they normally would or a little bit longer than they were intending. Either until…inventory level returns to somewhat normal, or until…that specific maker model that they’ve had their eye on becomes available in the market.”

For those drivers who decide to delay a new purchase, maintenance is essential. “If you do decide to keep that vehicle, instead of purchasing a new vehicle, the biggest thing to keep in mind is to make sure that you are still properly maintaining the vehicle that you do have so that you can extend the life of that vehicle,” says Cooper.

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