If you order a new top of the line sedan in Europe or North America these days, you might find there is a long waiting time unless it is a less popular model whose sales are doing poorly. The sudden car shortage has nothing to do with the spread of South African or Brazilian strain of the pandemic. The reason why automakers cannot make enough cars and why some plants of General Motors, Daimler, Ford, Toyota and Nissan are now idle is an acute shortage of semiconductors which power functions from brakes to emissions controls. “Electrification of vehicles is increasing the content of power chips ten-fold in every car,” notes Pierre Ferragu, an analyst for NewStreet Research in New York.

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