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Semiconductor shortage causing issues with layoffs and dealership inventory

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    FLINT, Michigan (WNEM) — Automakers are seeing a ripple effect of production line slow-downs and shut-downs due to the ongoing global computer chip shortage.

It’s now impacting areas that hurt automakers the most. Many are cutting back on production of pick-ups and SUVs, which are the real money makers.

“You have to have these all these fancy chips to be able to have everything work,” said Steve Dawes, United Auto Workers Region 1D director.

There’s an ongoing semiconductor shortage, often called chips, that is impacting car production and vehicle inventory across the country.

Dawes said they have seen over 150 layoffs due to the shortage, impacting people at some GM Flint plants.

˜Engine plant over on Bristol and Van Slyke road,” Dawes said.

The chip shortage, combined with a February winter storm, also recently forced Ford to build F-150 pickup trucks without some computers. Dawes thinks they should start making the chips in the U.S.

“There’s actually several different places that make these chips, they’re all overseas, which I’ve been preaching all along,” Dawes said. “That maybe we ought to start building that type stuff right here in America. We can control it a lot better.”

Chris Graff with Graff Chevrolet says inventory can be tricky without these semiconductors.

“They go into our cars and you know if you don’t have them, you can’t build them,” Graff said.

Graff adds that right now there are waiting lists for certain cars and customers might not always find exactly what they are looking for.

“If there’s a car that fits your needs, that’s on a dealer’s lot you should grab it now,” he said.

It’s not all bad news, Graff says right now customers can get a lot more for their trade ins. That’s because of slowed new car production, many people are going into used cars, which can also be an issue.

“Even the used cars are being affected, there’s fewer used cars out there as a result of this,” he said.

Dawes believes local layoffs will be temporary. When the chips start rolling back in, people will be back.

“The plan is that everybody that’s laid off will come back unless they’ve retired in the meantime,” he said.

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