Ford Motor Co. officials announced late last week that the company will have to cut or completely halt production at eight of its plants due to a massive shortage of computer chips, according to Fox Business.
The work slowdown will occur only in North American plants.
The announcement came after Ford said that a shortage of computer chips would probably affect production quotas, meaning the world's economies and workers are still paying for the stupidity of locking down the plant over a virus with a 99 percent survival rate.
"Production at factories in Michigan, Chicago and in Cuautitlan, Mexico will be suspended. In Kansas City, production of its F-150 pickup trucks will be idled while one shift will run for production of its Transit vans," Reuters reported as well.
"The Detroit automaker will also run a single shift or a reduced schedule at its factories in Dearborn, Kentucky and Louisville, while removing overtime at its Oakville factory in Canada," the outlet continued, adding that the work stoppages will commence Feb. 7.
The global shortage of microchips began in earnest last year but obviously, there hasn't been much progress in getting production levels up to meet demand. And what's more, there isn't much additional chipmaking capacity being built at present, so the shortages will continue into the foreseeable future.
“The global semiconductor shortage continues to affect Ford’s North American plants – along with automakers and other industries around the world,” Ford said in an emailed statement, as reported by CNBC. “Behind the scenes, we have teams working on how to maximize production, with a continued commitment to building every high-demand vehicle for our customers with the quality they expect.”
It's telling that Ford is cutting production of some of its most popular and profitable models such as the Bronco, F-150 trucks and the Mach-E; the company sold 1.9 million models in the U.S. in 2021, down 6.8 percent from the previous year.
"The chip shortage is still very much a problem," Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions, told tech site CNET. "This is not a quickly solvable issue."
The site went on to note that Ford actually missed out on more than a million additional sales due to the chip shortage, adding:
Overall vehicle production was dramatically reduced in 2021 because of the chip shortage. According to Jeff Schuster, president of the Americas operation and global vehicle forecasting at LMC Automotive, "Ford was hit the hardest and they were hit early." This is because it had several super-high-profile launches, including a redesigned F-150. According to Schuster, the Blue Oval missed out on an estimated 1.25 million units last year.
A Department of Commerce study released recently found that the median inventory of computer chips held by private firms such as automobile makers and medical device manufacturers fell from around 40 days in 2019, before the pandemic, to fewer than 5 days last year.
The study noted that the implications of this are extremely serious, given our technologically advanced society.
"If a COVID outbreak, a natural disaster or political instability disrupts a foreign semiconductor facility for even just a few weeks, it has the potential to shut down a manufacturing facility in the US, putting American workers and their families at risk," the report said, a danger that isn't lost on vehicle manufacturers.
Now for the really bad news: A single manufacturer in Taiwan makes 92 percent of the world's most sophisticated computer chips -- and China has been threatening to invade Taiwan for years, though Beijing has been ramping up its threats in the era of the hapless Joe Biden.
The world literally cannot afford to allow China to capture this capability. It's a matter of national security for the entire West.