There’s a Car Shortage…But It’s Bigger Than That

Max Pelikan/
Max Pelikan/

We’ve already heard that there’s a car shortage. Much of it has to do with a microchip that helps the vehicles operate. Without that chip, cars cannot be manufactured. However, it’s not just a chip that’s the problem. As the shortage continues, there’s a glaring issue that we simply can’t ignore anymore.

There’s a global shortage of magnesium. And according to experts in the auto industry, it could mean a near-total shutdown of car manufacturing.

Without new cars hitting the market, it means that the ones currently out there are worth a lot more. If you’ve noticed that the cost of used cars is higher than ever, you’re not alone. Many cars are worth significantly more than they were before the pandemic. If you’ve been thinking about buying a car, you might just want to hold onto your current car, if that’s a possibility.

Now, with magnesium becoming so highly sought after, it means that it can’t be used to produce aluminum alloys — the majority of what auto bodies are made of. It’s one more thing that’s MIA to produce today’s cars.

Without aluminum alloys, you aren’t producing cars — whether they are gas or electric. So, if you were thinking that the magnesium shortage was just the Biden administration’s way of making you switch to electric, think again. Of course, we wouldn’t put it past them to do something that would make it easier for us to have to buy electric cars.

China’s been dealing with factories shutting down to conserve power. They’ve been facing an energy crisis over the past year. The problem with this is that China is also the primary supplier of magnesium in the world. Approximately 85% of the supply comes out of China.

Without magnesium, you can say goodbye to buying a car. However, owning a car should be the least of your problems when you see what else the car shortage causes.

With little to no magnesium, it means that no cars are being produced. The auto industry comes to a standstill — and not just in the U.S. We’re talking about a standstill in every country, from America to Europe to Asia.

Do you have any idea how many people are employed by the auto industry? We’re talking about millions. 

Now, this isn’t going to be a long-term outage. And, China is only responsible for 85%. The United States is capable of producing magnesium, too. It means that the country won’t come to a screeching halt when it comes to car production. Though, magnesium is just one of the many things that are hard to get right now. We’re still waiting on computer chips and a few other things, too.

As Jalopnik reports, “With these shortages piling up, no single mine or factory is likely to immediately fix the new car shortage. We can hope that things will start to improve sooner rather than later, but it’s looking like a long, car-free winter ahead.”

Well, that means that you better hold onto your car. And if you do have to car shop, be prepared to have a limited selection as well as a higher sticker price. If you plan on holding out, you could be waiting months if not closer to a year for a better selection to show up at dealership showrooms.

And, if you’re in the auto industry, brace yourself. It’s about to get bumpy unless magnesium starts flowing like water around the world.