Semiconductor chip shortage hitting Kansas businesses, consumers


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNT) – You can expect to pay more for some products with the current global shortage of semiconductor chips. It can also make new cars harder to find.

“Absolutely every dealership is feeling it,” said Mike Wildeman, used car assistant manager at Donovan Auto in Wichita. “It’s kind of an unknown, we’re still going to be getting new cars. It’s just a slower speed of getting the vehicles in.”

There are only about a dozen new cars at the dealership on West Kellogg right now. Normally, they would like to see many more and that includes used cars.

“It’s hard to get good used cars now. We find them and we will continue to find the right cars people want,” said Wildeman. “But rental car companies are not buying a lot of new cars right now, we can find good vehicles there as one source of good cars.”

Semiconductor chips are used in everything from cars to washers and dryers and computers. Computer prices are moving in some instances. Some say the semiconductor chip issue contributes to price increases now, but so has the pandemic for multiple reasons.

“When the factories shut down because of COVID-19 that created a demand, and now everyone is working at home which created a higher demand,” said Dave Williamson, with Electronix Recyclers, which sells computers.

Williamson has sold computers since 1980. He recycles, builds, and sells computers.

“We seem to be able to get all the product we need, however the price has increased,” said Williamson.

Meanwhile, with cars, General Motors has shut down five of its plants including the Fairfax plant in Kansas City, where they primarily build the Malibu and Cadillacs.

“Our supply chain organization has made strides working with our supply base to mitigate the near-term impacts of the semiconductor situation,” a statement from GM said. “GM continues to leverage every available semiconductor to build and ship our most popular and in-demand products, including full-size trucks and SUVs for our customers.”

Some computer experts hope to see both pandemic issues of supply and demand and semiconductor issues resolved quickly. But they say it may not be immediately.

“It will be back to normal probably within a year,” said Williamson.

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