Computer Chip Shortage Slows Class 8 Heavy Truck Production

The semiconductor shortage is short-circuiting heavy-duty truck production as supply-chain disruptions hamper efforts to meet robust demand for new big rigs.
North American production of Class 8 trucks, the big vehicles that haul most domestic freight, sank this summer to its lowest level since May 2020.

A recent Wall Street Journal article explains how the shortage of semiconductor chips began this spring and will cause more delays in fall, when fleets typically order new trucks.

“North American trucking companies, pushing to expand capacity to meet strong freight demand, ordered 36,900 heavy-duty trucks in August, the highest level in five months and up 90% from the prior-year period…”

Semiconductor chips are used in most electronic devices and provide a variety of functions ranging from computing to storage and memory. The global chip shortage has caused auto manufacturers to slash car production, including new cutbacks announced this week by General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. This has also affected factories making heavy-duty trucks. Some truck makers are moving semiconductors from smaller medium-duty trucks to Class 8 production to maximize the value of the chips.

What caused the global semiconductor shortage?

Currently, the U.S. is too dependent on Taiwan for semiconductor chips while noting that just 12% are made in the U.S. – a figure that includes none of the cutting-edge chips required to run more sophisticated technology. Making semiconductors requires tons of clean water. Taiwan factory production was slowed when Taiwan suffered a long water shortage this year.

Intel has announced plans to build two new chip facilities in Arizona — an investment that will be worth about $20 billion. But those factories won’t be ready until 2024.

You can read the full Wall Street Journal article at:

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