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August 04, 2022

Auto News

Computer chip shortages represent a fundamental shift for the auto industry

The shortages of computer chips that forced global automakers to scrap production plans for millions of cars over the past two years are easing - at a new and permanent cost to the car companies.

What had been "war room operations" to manage chip shortages are becoming embedded features of vehicle development, say executives in both industries. That has shifted the risks and some of the costs to automakers.

Newly created teams at the likes of General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford Motor Co are negotiating directly with chipmakers. Automakers like Nissan and others are accepting longer order commitments and higher inventories. Key suppliers including Robert Bosch and Denso are investing in chip production. GM and Stellantis have said they will work with chip designers to design components.

Taken together, the changes represent a fundamental shift for the auto industry: higher costs, more hands-on work in chip development and more capital commitment in exchange for better visibility in their chip supplies, executives and analysts say.

It is a U-turn for automakers who had previously relied on suppliers – or their suppliers – to source semiconductors.

For chip makers, the still-developing partnership with automakers is a welcome - and overdue reset. Many semiconductor executives point the finger at automakers' lack of understanding of how the chip supply chain works - and an unwillingness to share cost and risk - for a large part of the recent crisis.

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Car Care Tip

How much gas in the tank will prevent damage to your car?

According to experts there is an ideal amount of gas to keep in your tank, which is one of many ways you can help extend the life of your vehicle.

In your gas tank is a fuel pump. This pump runs from the gas tank to the motor, supplying fuel. As the pump runs, it heats up - but when it's submerged in gas, the fuel acts as a coolant to stop the pump from overheating. If you're running on less than a quarter tank of gas, the pump will overheat and end up failing sooner than it should. What's more, driving around on empty can cause condensation in the walls of your gas tank, diluting your fuel, and causing rust.

In addition to increasing the potential of longterm damage to your car, driving on empty actually hurts your gas mileage. If you're driving around on empty, the fuel pump is going to start picking up everything on the bottom of the tank, including sediment from dirty gas and tank condensation. Not only can this damage your fuel pump and motor, but it actually makes your gas mileage worse. As long as you have at least a quarter tank of gas, your gas mileage is going to stay as optimal as it can.

Featured Classic Car

1969 Dodge Charger

Is there any other car more recognizable than the Dukes of Hazzard's 1969 "General Lee" Dodge Charger? During the 1960s Chrysler selected their Dodge Division to enter the marketplace with a mid-size sporty car to fit between the "pony car" Ford Mustang and "personal luxury" Ford Thunderbird. The Coronet-based Charger that resulted is arguably one of Chrysler's shining moments. There were two different 383 engines available for the 1969 model year: 2-barrel and 4-barrel. The 2-barrel was rated at 290 hp. The four barrel engine was rated at 330 hp. The 330-hp engine was unique to the Charger model in 1969.

Thanks for reading,

The Editor

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