Microchip Shortage to Affect Ambulance Supply
From the American Ambulance Association & The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) Ground Vehicle Standards
By Mark Van Arnam, Administrator, CAAS GVS
A global semiconductor shortage is crippling the production of motor vehicles both in the US and worldwide. Ford Motor Company, which supplies approximately 70% of the ambulance chassis used in the US, shut down production at various plants that produce the E series, T series, and F series ambulance chassis in mid-April. These scheduled shutdowns continue and are already approaching the 6 to 7-week mark. The end is not yet in sight, with the shortage of the critical microchips predicted to run into 2022. Ford currently predicts an overall production loss of over 1.1 million units in 2021.
These production shutdowns by Ford and other chassis manufacturers have created a major supply chain interruption of chassis needed to produce ambulances in North America. Many Final Stage Ambulance Manufacturers (FSAMs) and Remounters are reporting chassis shortages that are worse than those experienced in the 2020 pandemic period when those OEM truck plants shut down for COVID reasons.
Both Ford and GM report that the duration and extent of the semiconductor shortage and resulting production shutdowns are not yet known and “the situation changes daily”. As of mid-May, many FSAMs are reporting significant ambulance production slowdowns due to chassis shortages, with complete shutdowns of some ambulance assembly lines highly likely in the near future.