back to article Sitting idle while global chips fry: US car industry asks Biden to earmark cash for automotive semiconductors

The US automotive industry has warned it faces a bleak six months of disruption caused by the global shortage of semiconductors, adding that the chaos will result in 1.28 million fewer cars made this year. The gloomy prediction came from the Alliance for Auto Innovation, an umbrella group that consists of big-name carmakers …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not all of us

    The chipmakers try to put this all on the automakers. For one automaker at least, we placed purchase orders, made forecasts, confirmed POs, and scheduled deliveries, only to have orders get pushed out or canceled.

    I'm sure our planning and scheduling was based on lean principles, which are fine until you have a pandemic, a supplier has a fire, or a big ass ship gets wedged in a canal and all the dominoes fall like a house of cards... checkmate!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ban chips in cars

    These are american cars, they should have 4.8 liter (or whatever that it is in cubic hogsheads) engines with no O2 sensors, no anti-lock brakes and no airbags

    We don't need no steenkin computers in our cars

    1. Chris G

      Re: Ban chips in cars

      I agree 100%, if you drop them, they make the seats greasy and your fingers are slippy on the steering wheel.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Ban chips in cars

      These are american cars, they should have 4.8 liter (or whatever that it is in cubic hogsheads)

      Ah, so a fun car might have a BBC (Big Block Chevvy, not the UK's bastion of wokeness) with the 454 cubic inch model being a modest little number that converts to a tad over 13 pints. Being a Brit, I find that easier to visualise as it's ethanol consumption rate vs those namby pamby EUnits, ie 7.4l. Ok, that gets a bit more complex after factoring in drinking aids, such as turbos, superchargers or straws.

      But it also demonstrates a limitation of ICEs, ie a hogshead is 54 gallons, so around 15,000 cubic inches, thus would require NHRA certfied tracks to extend staging lanes for 1/4 or 1/8th mile events considerably, as well as probably ending the ability for competitors to beat their opponents by a car length. There would be safety advantages however, like virtually eliminating the risk of wheelies for both front and rear-engined cars.

      So rather than shooting for the moon, I propose a more modest starting point. So the 2,500c.i V-Lots engine. This has several marketing advantages, ie people may think it's 2,500 cc, and then triggering the subliminal 'iWant' response in a petrolhead who thinks bigger is better, after explaining their error. There would be further benefits, ie the reaction of 'look at that firkin car go!'.

      And of course to pacify the other BBC, it'd also be sustainable. So engine management systems utilising current, standard CPUs would have ample capacity to manage a few extra cylinders per car. Thus fewer chips would be needed for a given engine volume than say, lots of screaming 2JZs.

      1. naive

        Re: Ban chips in cars

        FYI: the worlds most produced engine is the Chevy's small-block OHV V8, started out in 1955 and still produced in volumes in excess of 5000 per day.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Ban chips in cars

          FYI: the worlds most produced engine is the Chevy's small-block OHV V8, started out in 1955 and still produced in volumes in excess of 5000 per day.

          Yup, which I think is rather neat. Especially the number of vendors also making versions, and the huge array of parts to maintain or upgrade them. Sadly the EPA is trying to end all that-

          https://www.sema.org/epa-news

          But I think sometimes bigger is better, and I've been amusing myself with this from my 'iWant' list-

          https://www.stevemorrisengines.com/engines/bbc-1000-3500-hp-packages/turbo-2-500-3-500hp

          Mainly in trying to figure out how to pack that beast into various existing cars, or how I'd build a new one around it :)

          1. Down not across Silver badge

            Re: Ban chips in cars

            Starting at $60k, ouch. Mind you shoving that into a Suburban (preferably 7th gen or earlier for maximum effect) could be amusing.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ban chips in cars

        "so a fun car might have a BBC"

        Fnar.

    3. ThatOne Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Ban chips in cars

      Seriously, we don't need that much electronics in cars. Humongous "Infotainment" systems which will only work for a couple years before turning into dead weight, and all kind of mostly useless gadgets which can and will break down regularly.

      My 15-years-old car has about the maximal amount of electronics one could need: As a result, 15 years later everything in it is still 100% operational. No programmed obsolescence, and most important to me, it is not "connected"! I don't need my car to update its own Facebook page. I just need it to drive me safely and reliably over big distances, potentially on bad/snowy roads, without any nasty surprises. Yes, I'm special that way.

      So indeed, ban superfluous chips, make again cars made to travel, not just to look good in a marketing blurb!

  3. thames

    The fine print

    Before the US government hands out taxpayer money to private companies, they might want to add in some terms and conditions that state the money will only go to to plants that are in places with:

    • a reliable supply of electricity (e.g. not in Texas),
    • are not in areas that are busy sinking beneath the waves (e.g. not in Florida or coastal Texas),
    • are not on top of an earthquake fault (pick your own examples),
    • are not in drought prone areas (much of the southwestern US),
    • and aren't in areas with routine tornadoes that knock down power lines and other essential infrastructure.
    • They also need to avoid areas with poor education systems, loopy fundamentalist religious governments, and other things which would make attracting and keeping a skilled workforce difficult.

    Otherwise, what's the point?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The fine print

      So, no plants in the USA?...

      /s

  4. Kev99 Silver badge
  5. Norman123

    Handouts to private corporations who fail to be competitive in the global marketplace? Is this capitalism or corporate communism? If taxpayers pay to keep or improve a private corporations, their board must have representatives of the public permanently so the public will have a share of the profit and the workers have a say in how the company is run.

    Why waste public money to prop up a failing/uncompetitive private outfit if individual business people are forced to go bust.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >Why waste public money to prop up a failing/uncompetitive private outfit if individual business people are forced to go bust.

      Because these are far sighted businesses that have made strategic long term investments in the re-election fund of the local politician

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