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AAA: Global microchip shortage affecting ambulance supply

Ford, which supplies approximately 70% of the ambulance chassis in the United States, shut down several plants due to the shortage

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Photo/CristianIS, Pixabay

By Laura French

WASHINGTON — The American Ambulance Association (AAA) has warned that a global microchip shortage is affecting ambulance supply in the United States.

According to the AAA, Ford Motor Company, supplies approximately 70% of the ambulance chassis used in the United States. Ford shut down several of its plants that produce E series, T series and F series ambulance chassis in mid-April due to the semiconductor shortage.

“These scheduled shutdowns continue and are already approaching the 6 to 7-week mark,” Mark Van Arnam, the administrator of the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services Ground Vehicle Standards (CAAS GVS), said in a joint statement with AAA officials. “The end is not yet in sigh, 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.”

The Ford shutdowns represent a “major supply chain interruption,” Van Arnam wrote, with the resulting chassis shortage affecting the ability of final state ambulance manufacturers (FSAMs) and remounters to complete production. Many remounters reported that the current chassis shortages are more severe than those experienced due to plant shutdowns during the pandemic.

Van Arnam told ABC News that one ambulance chassis contains “dozens and dozens” of microchips. He said EMS agencies will begin to see the long-term effects of the shortage in future months when ambulances that would have begun production now will not be available to be delivered.

“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,” Van Arnam wrote in the joint statement.