GM CEO Mary Barra and other auto industry executives sent a letter to Congress this week urging it to pass $52 billion in federal funding for domestic semiconductor manufacturing efforts.
In addition to Barra, the letter was signed by the CEOs of fellow Detroit Big Three automakers Ford and Stellantis, as well as the U.S. leaders of foreign automakers like Volkswagen, Toyota, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Nissan.
The US Senate passed a bill last year that would funnel $52 billion into domestic semiconductor manufacturing efforts, which was part of a broader $250 billion package called the US Innovation and Competition Act. The bill, which would include $2 billion to support production of automotive-grade semiconductor chips, is still awaiting approval from Congress at this time.
“If the U.S. is to remain a leader in automotive innovation, we must make the strategic, forward-looking investments today necessary to enhance the capacity and resilience of our domestic and regional semiconductor supply chains,” said the letter, which was viewed by news agency Reuters.
The letter also said “the auto industry is facing substantial production losses stemming from capacity challenges across the global semiconductor supply chain” as quoted by Reuters, adding that “numerous automakers have been forced to halt production and cancel shifts in the United States, with serious consequences for their workers and the communities in which they operate.”
A shortage of semiconductor chips has forced GM and other automakers to reduce production output in North America and abroad, leading to low inventory levels at dealerships and increased prices for consumers. Experts predict the chip shortage will persist for the foreseeable future, as chip plants take years to set up and adequately scale production, making it difficult to quickly increase supply.