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Computer chip shortage leaves Lincoln car lots competitive

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 7:56 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - If you’ve been trying to buy a new car in Lincoln, chances are you’ve noticed an issue. A shortage of computer chips is slowing down production.

That means fewer choices at your local dealership as lots compete to get the few available cars. Those chips control everything from the dashboard to intricate inner workings and many couldn’t run without them.

There are noticeable gaps in Larry Young’s lot at Husker Auto Group. He said his inventory is down about 75% of what it normally is.

“Short in every area,” Young said. “Cars, crossovers, full-size, SUVs, trucks. When I can put my whole inventory in my whole spot on this campus, we’re very low.”

Young is now alone. In a handful of calls 10/11 NOW made on Tuesday afternoon dealerships all around Lincoln said they are seeing the same thing and then some.

“Instances where some people have ordered vehicles and they’ve waited three to four months for the order to finally kick in,” Young said. “There’s a lot of competitiveness for the inventory right now because there isn’t very much.”

A vast majority of the chips are made in Asia. Industry experts said a bump in technology sales, in items like computers, and a dip in auto sales earlier in the pandemic is causing the shortage now.

“We heard about this shortage in December timeframe. And in January, we tried to squeeze as many chips as possible to the car company,” said Mark Lui with TSMC. “Today, we think we are two months ahead, that we can catch up the minimum requirement of our customers. Before the end of June.”

Lui, the CEO of the world’s largest contract chipmaker, said catching up by the end of June would let the supply chain catch up in seven to eight months, which isn’t until the end of 2021.

For now, back at his lot in Lincoln Young said if you want to buy a car that you should lock it in as soon as you find what you like.

“Right now you don’t have that extra day or two to think about it,” Young said. “Because while you were thinking about it someone else has already decided and come in and bought what you were gonna get.”

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