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Microchip shortage delays car repairs, increases auto prices

The computer software chips are in high demand for mechanics and car dealerships.
Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 4:36 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2021 at 5:53 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Over the past year, a shortage of microchips has impacted car manufacturing.

Paul Flogel is the Program Director for the Automotive Technology Department at Madison College. He says the tiny pieces are having a big impact.

“You talk about one small little thing, but it’s multiple small little things,” said Flogel.

He says computer technology in cars has grown steadily over the past 30 years.

“The same type of technology in your phones and home computers are in our vehicle. It’s the same type of thing,” said Flogel.

Mechanics around the Madison area are adapting and fixing what they can on cars.

“We deal with the shortages,” said Flogel. “We’ll modify and we’ll do things to make it happen.”

He says some repairs need the right parts.

“Sometimes it’s just a wait. That’s kind of the hard part because we’re not used to doing that,” said Flogel.

The shortage in microchips is also impacting car production.

Craig Blevins, a sales manager at Schoepp’s Motors in Middleton, has worked in the car sales business for more than three decades.

“I’ve been in the business for over 30 years and I haven’t seen the shortage of inventory like we’re dealing with right now,” said Blevins.

He says some car dealerships have cars sitting on the lot that are unable to sell because they’re missing the crucial software to make the vehicles run.

“Automobiles aren’t meant to be parked for a year,” said Blevins. “It’s going to be interesting to find out how new car dealers and new car manufacturers will market those vehicles.”

He says independent dealerships like Schoepp’s Motors are able to navigate the sharp turns.

“We have a lot more flexibility and we can react a lot quicker to those market fluctuations,” he said.

Blevins expects a spike in car sale prices across the industry.

“I think it’s going to be expensive to buy a new car in the next 12 months,” said Blevins. “I think it’s going to be another full year before we see a big improvement.”

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