Everything you need to know

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They are a little bigger than a coin the size of a quarter, but tiny semiconductor chips are bringing production of vehicles across the nation to a halt.

Car dealers have barren parking lots, consumers face limited options on new vehicle purchases and buyers must wait, and wait, for their new ride to be built. Tens of thousands of new vehicles sit in parking lots awaiting semiconductor chips before they can be shipped to dealers.

New Ford F-150 pickup trucks sit on a lot of the Department of Public Works rail yard off I-96 near Evergreen in Detroit on April 15, 2021. The trucks are waiting for semiconductors, the company said. Trucks will get quality checks done before being shipping to dealers.

Here’s what you need to know about semiconductor chips:

So what are these chips?

The chips are tiny transistors made from silicon, which is found in most of the minerals on the earth’s surface. They allow computers, smart phones, appliances and other electrical devices to function. Vehicles use chips, too.

Silicon feeds a $500 billion chip industry, according to a report by the BBC. The chips underpin a global tech economy worth an estimated $3 trillion, the report said. The raw materials for the semiconductor business often come from Japan and Mexico, with the chips made in Taiwan, China and some in the U.S.



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