back to article Volvo car sales tumble amid ongoing chip shortages

Volvo is again blaming "chip shortages" after the company experienced a 22.1 percent drop in sales for cars in March compared to the previous year. "Customer demand remains strong," insisted the company after reporting sales of 58,677 cars. Although it described the drop as a "temporary deviation," Volvo said it expected …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    The one true Volvo...

    My Dad had a 144S. A family tradition was that he would take us (me and two brothers) out for a drive on a Sunday morning to give Mum a break. Often this could be a pleasant drive through the country only spoilt by 'us' arguing over whose turn it was to sit in the front, watching the odometer with eagle eyes for when the designated 10 miles was up. Other times the drive would last as little as 10 minutes before an impromptu stop; up would go the bonnet and out would come the toolkit - a wooden handled screwdriver that I think my brother still has to this day - and my Dad would be intently listening down the shaft of the screwdriver to each carburettor in turn, trying to get the timing between them matched.

    Some times the magic screwdriver did the trick first time, some days not. I, for the life of me, could never hear the difference before or after. :-)

    The car was lovely to ride in as a kid - very comfy. Only real problem was that the seats were vinyl covered and therefore could sometimes be painfully hot on a summer's day - especially as small boys only wore shorts not long trousers in those days! Still, jumpers for goalposts and all that.

    1. Stork Silver badge

      Re: The one true Volvo...

      From looks, I prefer the Amazon. I seem to remember it was once the most sold car in Denmark, they were quite common when I was a kid.

  2. Splurg The Barbarian

    a non chip filled would be bliss

    The 144 was iconic, although aa 244 or 245 ( not too fussy) GLT in metallic blue would be nice too.

    A.non chip filled, car.would be bliss, one that could be easily repaired, not sending everything its doing & where it currently is to the manufacturer and not fillled to the brim with unnecessary, driver distracting nonsense. You never know one if those could even have physical buttons, designed of course.tonlook good, so you can switch things on or off easily without having to take your eyes of the road. I can but dream, or just hope my defender doesn't eat itself, or be barred from driving anywhere!!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: a non chip filled would be bliss

      I'm sure the chip count could be significantly reduced but I'd still prefer decent computer controlled engine management so my increasingly high fuel bill isn't double what it is now :-)

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: a non chip filled would be bliss

      Other than EFI and a few other efficiency improving innovations, you are correct.

      It might also help to have multiple alternative designs [functional, not specific] for sub-assemblies (provided by third parties) available, from intermittent wipers to heater and A/C control. And like another auto maker (I think it was Ford) recently announced, maybe just buy (at a discount) a car WITHOUT the electronic bells and whistles and thereby keep the revenue stream going...

      Or is this REALLY all about making EVERYBODY own an ELECTRIC car??? (and HOW much of electric vehicles are made in China?)

      Also worth pointing out: If your second source is down the road from your first source, it's STILL "all eggs in one basket". Right?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: a non chip filled would be bliss

        The new cars are so much safer than the old death traps. Partly thanks to their electronics.

        1. Christopher Reeve's Horse

          Re: a non chip filled would be bliss

          Yes indeed, safety trumps everything else. I own a Volvo with adaptive cruise control / radar assisted braking, and I don't think I'd ever buy a new car again that didn't have similar features.

  3. Stork Silver badge

    Someone think of the golden retrievers!

    See title

  4. rcxb1
    Coat

    Chip shortages

    > Chip shortages have hit car makers particularly hard

    Yes, well. Employees do need to eat, after all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chip shortages

      Chip shortages could change the way we do things in the future ... maybe we will go back to using transistors and return to the days micro-controllers like an 8048. Easily coded to do almost anything, so if they become unavailable you could just do a little redesign and build a board with another micro-controller to perform the original function ...

      1. LogicGate Silver badge

        Re: Chip shortages

        And how will that help the situation?

        Have you tried to purchase specific diodes, mosfets, capacitors etc. lately?

        The processors get a lot of press, but the shortages are very wide spanning, and they reach well beyond electronics. Tried to buy steel or aluminum?

        Or building materials?

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Chip shortages

      I like my chips deep fried and served with ketchup

      (But lemon and salt is ok, too.)

      Taters are still cheap. Cutting them up not that hard. Use abrasives (like a 'greenie' cleaning pad) to get the worst of the skin off, then cut taters into the appropriate shape with a big kitchen knife, boil for 6 minutes in salty water, then immediately toss into a deep fryer for 8 to 9 minutes. Mmmmm...

      And don't forget the beer.

      (but what DOES this have to do with I.T. ??? I guess you made me hungry!)

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Chip shortages

        If you believe all the news reports about the fish'n'chip industry being in crisis, potatoes are no longer cheap (well, as cheap as they were).

        A couple of years of bad harvests for too much or too little rain, and now huge rises in the price of fuel for the machinery that plants and digs up potatoes, and the prices are rising, and will probably continue to rise.

        When it comes to chips (of the potato sort), the shortage of oil to fry them in, and increases in the price of energy to cook them will also push prices up.

        A regular portion of chips from my regular chippy is currently £2.50, and is only going to get more expensive.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aah yes Volvo

    That Chinese car company…

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Aah yes Volvo

      Swedish. There’s a big difference between engineering cars and owning shares.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Aah yes Volvo

        Wikipedia:

        “Since 2010 Volvo Cars has been owned by the Chinese multinational automotive company Geely Holding Group.”

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Aah yes Volvo

          Well done. “Holding Group” = share holding not car engineering. What have you contributed by that Wikipedia quote? It says nothing about where a car is engineered and developed.

          Are you going to try to tell me that Guinness is not an Irish drink because the company is owned by London based Diageo?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Aah yes Volvo

            Enjoy your Mao Wagon

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Aah yes Volvo

              Unusual way of conceding there. Mao Zedong died 10 years before Geely were founded.

              At least you are consistent.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Denarius

    which may be part of the reason

    used car prices have risen sharply. Also, a common theme as above. Instead of a few simple switches, multiple smears required on a screen to find the right menu, right option, while interrupting something needed, such as navigation. Interestingly, age of driver is not affected by this common complaint. One wonders if a low cost model has a niche with decent engine controller and basic safety systems but separate entertainment and navigation systems might have market ? Sort of a 2020 middle to low market segment level.

  7. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    I like my chips

    I like my chips. I had a 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood with 472 cubic inch V8 (7.8 liters!), and a 750CFM Quadrajet carburetor. Man did that thing chug gas. Given on there having to adjust idle mixture (I did only have to do this once..) and idle speed, potentially have to dick around with jets, set engine timing with distributor... I had the accelerator pump fail and a friend of mine and I pulled the carb and rebuilt it. I wonder if that thing has enough parts in it? (I'm just saying there's a lot of little internal bits in there). I've found my fuel injected vehicles to be far more reliable (especially at starting in those below -20C temps we get here), easier to diagnose to fix when they did go wrong, then I ever would have with a carburetor.

    Especially TBI (throttle body injection) -- a MAF (airflow) or MAP (vacuum) sensor.. the one I had used MAP.. an RPM sensor on the distributor so computer had engine speed, a speed sensor (which on that one actually fed off the speedometer, rather than the usual modern method of having the computer feed the speedometer based on it's own speed sensor input), O2 sensor, and 1 big 'ol injector over the throttle body.. which in my 1985 Chevy Celebrity was literally a 1-barrel carb with all the extra carb stuff sealed off and no choke since the computer took care of cold starting. Oh and a valve to adjust the idle speed, it shoves this reentry-cone-shaped thing in and out of an air bypass to adjust idle speed. Very little wiring, very few sensors, and very little to go wrong.

    I do admit modern models can be a tad overcomplicated. I rue the day I have engine management-related problems with my Chevy Cruze... 1.4L turbo with variable valve timing, turbocharging (with electronically controlled wastgate etc.), and electronic throttle control. That'll be REAL fun to sort out if it acts up!

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: I like my chips

      I once experimented on an old big-block Ford LTD (429) by modifying the carburator such that it idled on 4 cylinders, on the mains (idle jets were closed off). Since half the cylinders got NO fuel, essentially, it needed regular fuel flow (not idle jets) to idle and do city driving. Gas mileage was significantly better, though I could not measure it other than noting how less often I had to put gas in. Highway mileage went up by about 20% though. And the car stopped "coughing" and running after I shut it off.

      This is not a new idea, and maybe a car computer could alternate cylinders around on a modern engine to accomplish the same thing with EFI (just rotate which half of the cylinders get fuel) once the engine warms up. Or if you wanna tinker in your garage with a 40+ year old car that stlil runs, go for it.

      As for engine trouble, the ODB-II (or later I guess) stuff usually tells you exactly what went wrong. But some time ago I had to step in to get the diverter valve assembly replaced on my current vehicle. It was building up water in an electric air pump (smog device) and causing it to fail, within the warranty period. I was tired if it failing and so I thought about it, did some online study, and determined that the diverter valve was leaking back into the air pump, and as a huge amount of car exhaust is water vapor, condensing inside the air pump and making it fail.

      I figure if you can troubleshoot I.T. problems, you can use the same know-how and online earch ability to at least assist the mechanics with fixing your ride. (But I like the "ask a question" method so they do not get pissed at you doing their job for them - "What would happen if THIS component were to fail? Would it XX and YY and cause THIS to happen? Can we try fixing ZZ to see if it helps? I bet there's something wrong with it.")

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: I like my chips

        I've idly wondered over the years about not just cutting fuel to half the cylinders, but also finding a way to reduce the pumping losses by either not opening the inlet valves or opening the exhaust valves on the compression stroke.

        I suppose the obvious way to do that is to drive the valves electronically rather than with a mechanical cam (which would also reduce losses in the engine) but the only manufacturer I am aware of that does this is Koenigsegg. There's a chap on youtube who's done this, so it's possible for an amateur.

        It's something of a shame that just as we begin to get control systems which could significantly improve fuel consumption, particularly in town driving, we are starting to move away from internal combustion engines...

        But on the original point: how many of the computer systems in a car are *required* to make it work properly, and how many provide unnecessary frivolities dreamed up by the coloured pencil brigade marketing droids?

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: I like my chips

          I had one of the last Vauxhall Vectras made, and that had VVT and EFI, which essentially kept the valves open and stopped the fuel flow when the car was coasting. This made the estimated range on the trip computer jump to 999 miles per gallon, essentially saying that it was not using any fuel.

          The VVT was electronic, with servos adjusting the timing.

          I know that before Powertrain (the Rover engine group) went to the Chinese, they were experimenting with completely electronic valve actuators with a company called Camcon. Apparently it worked, and Camcon market the technology now, but I don't know whether it's made it into any production engines.

          I'm sure that other companies must have been playing around with the technology.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: I like my chips

            It’s been normal for years.

    2. What? Me worry?

      Re: I like my chips

      Ah... the 472. Had that 500 CID 8.2L version in my '70 Eldorado. That beast knew how to burn fuel! fun fact, mine had the optional front disc ABS brakes - useful!

  8. bernmeister

    Chips with Everything

    Ever since the Aston Martin Lagonda the motor industry has been trying to serve up everything with chips. The ECU, speedometer and alternator go well with chips but nowadays locks, lights, seats, windows etc are likely to use chips. Vehicles with CANbus control need a microprocessor for each monitored or controlled item. Once you have gone that far you cant design them out overnight. What a pickle the motor industry has landed its self into.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Chips with Everything

      It was only the dashboard display on the Lagonda. It wasn’t a computer controlled car, the first two series didn’t even have fuel injection, they used four Webers.

      Aston tried LED displays in the first two versions, and problems with those caused them to change to CRT for series 3. They sourced the CRTs from the company that supplied the cockpit displays in the F15 fighter. I think the last run of cars reverted to conventional dials.

  9. razzaDazza1234

    IT boys and cars... like NHS specs on Kate Moss

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