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    The prospect of lockdowns in Beijing fuels more concerns about supply chain disruptions.

    The prospect of further lockdowns in China prompted a fresh wave of economic anxiety on Monday as investors and companies whose supply chains run through China contemplated the impact of 70 new virus cases that the Beijing government said it had detected over the weekend.The city government ordered one of its districts to test all 3.5 million of its residents for coronavirus in the coming days, a move that may be a prelude to a larger lockdown in China’s capital city. Shanghai, a major port and business center, has been locked down for roughly a month, part of China’s “zero Covid” strategy. Other Chinese cities both large and small have announced their own restrictions on the movement of residents in a bid to keep the virus from spreading.The lockdowns present yet another challenge for global supply chains that have been stressed by pandemic shutdowns and the war in Ukraine, leading to greater competition for goods and higher prices that are fueling inflation worldwide.While the Chinese authorities have sought to keep factories and especially ports operating by keeping workers on the premises in so-called closed-loop systems, the lockdowns have interrupted shipments and lengthened delivery times for many of the global companies that depend on Chinese factories.Phil Levy, the chief economist at Flexport, a freight forwarder, said in an email that while Beijing is an important city, “it is not at the heart of factory production or supply chain operations.” He said lockdowns there would have a more limited impact than previous restrictions in Shanghai and Guangdong, where ports continued to mostly operate.But the effects would depend on where outbreaks occurred — for example whether they shut down a port — and how long lockdowns persisted, Mr. Levy added. “This is a relatively slow part of the year, but there is plenty of catch-up to be done, and things will soon be due to build. The costs will mount the longer this lasts.”The disruptions that are still unfolding in Shanghai and other Chinese cities are likely to reverberate along global supply chains in the coming months. Andrea Huang, a senior director at Overhaul, which monitors company supply chains, said with lockdowns not expected to ease until early or mid-May, the ripple effects for industries like auto and consumer electronics would extend into June or July.In Shanghai, the local authorities on Friday selected some companies in the automotive, semiconductor and other key industries to restart production, but the vast majority of enterprises remain shuttered.Activity at the port has also slowed. According to data from Project44, a logistics platform, the number of vessels that were berthing at the Shanghai port last week had dropped by about half since the lockdown began, while the number of vessels seeking to call at the nearby port of Ningbo jumped as shipping companies tried to get around restrictions. The time that imported containers were spending in the port had also risen sharply, from 4.6 days on March 28 to 14 days on April 23, the company said, as coronavirus testing requirements for truck drivers limited the ability to get containers in and out of the port.Fears of broader lockdowns weighed on global stocks on Monday, while oil and other commodities also fell in anticipation of lower demand.Elisabeth Waelbroeck-Rocha, chief international economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said that, in addition to disrupting global supply chains and fueling inflation, coronavirus outbreaks and accompanying lockdowns had undermined Chinese economic growth in March and April, making China unlikely to reach its target of 5.5 percent growth in gross domestic product in 2022.The epicenter of the outbreak shifted from Jilin Province in the northeast to Shanghai, a manufacturing base for high-end auto components, but smaller-scale outbreaks in other regions have largely been brought under control, she wrote in a note. More

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    Jim Farley Tries to Reinvent Ford and Catch Up to Elon Musk and Tesla

    On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Jim Farley, the chief executive of Ford Motor, took a spin in what could become one of the most important vehicles in the company’s 113-year history: an electric F-150 pickup truck.Sitting at the wheel of a prototype at the company’s test track in Dearborn, Mr. Farley floored it. From a standing stop, the 4,000-pound truck surged forward. “Four seconds,” he shouted when it reached 60 miles per hour. “That’s unbelievable for a vehicle of this size.”Steering the truck to a series of dips and rises in the track, he said, “Let’s see if we can get some air,” and shouted “Yes!” as the wheels briefly left the tarmac over one incline. In a final lap, he careened around a steeply banked turn and floored it again on a straightaway until he hit 99 miles an hour — just short of the track’s 100 m.p.h. speed limit.“I can’t wait,” Mr. Farley said as he stepped out, shaking his head. “I can’t wait till customers get this truck.”These are tense and exciting times for the auto industry. Driven by the dizzying success of Tesla, sales of electric vehicles appear to be on an unstoppable rise. The switch from making gasoline-powered cars and trucks to electric vehicles that emit no pollution from tailpipes will have far-reaching effects on the environment, climate change, public policy and the economy.Automakers are spending tens of billions of dollars to retool plants and are rushing to retrain workers for what may be the industry’s greatest transformation since Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing with the moving assembly line in 1913. They are also fighting to simply catch up to the juggernaut that is Tesla.The question for Ford is whether a car guy from the Detroit area can take on Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, whose company is rapidly expanding and is valued by investors at about 16 times as much as Ford.Tesla nearly doubled the number of cars it sold around the world last year to almost one million. Ford sold many more vehicles — nearly four million — but sales fell 6 percent as it struggled to get enough computer chips, batteries and other parts. Tesla has a brand that people associate with luxury and technical sophistication. Ford is viewed as a maker of large, utilitarian trucks and sport utility vehicles.“The traditional auto industry is pretty far behind Tesla,” said Earl J. Hesterberg, chief executive of Group 1 Automotive, a large auto retailer, who has known Mr. Farley for two decades. “In the past, if you were behind by a few years, the big players could catch up. But today, the speed of change is so much greater.”Auto experts say the electric F-150, known as the Lightning, must be a success if Ford is to thrive in the age of electric vehicles. Introducing this truck now is equivalent to “betting the company,” said William C. Ford Jr., the company’s executive chairman, who is a great-grandson of Henry Ford. “If this launch doesn’t go well, we can tarnish the entire franchise.”A Critical Year for Electric VehiclesThe popularity of battery-powered cars is soaring worldwide, even as the overall auto market stagnates.Going Mainstream: In December, Europeans for the first time bought more electric cars than diesels, once the most popular option.Turning Point: Electric vehicles account for a small slice of the market, but in 2022, their march could become unstoppable. Here is why.Tesla’s Success: A superior command of technology and its own supply chain allowed the company to bypass an industrywide crisis.Rivian’s Troubles: As the electric vehicle maker pares down its delivery targets for 2022, investors worry the company may not live up to its promise.Green Fleet: Amazon wants electric vans to make its deliveries. The problem? The auto industry barely produces any of the vehicles yet.The company has amassed about 200,000 reservations for the trucks, but it could still stumble. Production could be slowed by the global chip shortage or the surging costs of lithium, nickel and other raw materials crucial to batteries. The software that Ford has developed for the truck could be flawed, a problem that hampered sales of a new electric Volkswagen in 2020.Ford and Mr. Farley do have some things going for them. Unlike many other electric cars, the F-150 Lightning is relatively affordable — it starts at $40,000. Tesla’s cheapest car is the compact Model 3 sedan, which starts at more than $48,000. The Lightning has tons of storage, including a giant front trunk, which is appealing to families and businesses with large truck fleets. And it helps that Tesla will not begin making its Cybertruck until next year.And Ford is also already in the E.V. game with the Mustang Mach-E, an electric sport utility vehicle. It had sales of more than 27,000 in 2021, its first year on the market, and won favorable reviews.Production of the F-150 Lightning is scheduled to start next Monday. Competing models from General Motors, Stellantis and Toyota — Ford’s main rivals in pickups — are at least a year away. Rivian, a newer manufacturer that Ford has invested in, has begun selling an electric truck but is struggling to increase production.“If the Lightning launch goes well, we have an enormous opportunity,” Mr. Ford said.‘Jimmy Car-Car’In many ways, Mr. Farley checks most of the boxes when it comes to leading a large U.S. automaker. Like Mary T. Barra, the chief executive of G.M., whose father used to work on a Pontiac assembly line, Mr. Farley has family roots in the industry: His grandfather worked at a Ford factory. On visits to his grandfather, he would tour Ford plants and other sites important to the company’s history. As a 15-year-old, he bought a Mustang while working in California one summer and drove it home to Michigan without a license. His grandfather nicknamed him “Jimmy Car-Car.”But like Mr. Musk, a native of South Africa who was a founder of PayPal and other companies, Mr. Farley has had a varied career and been involved in creating businesses. Born in Argentina when his father was working there as a banker, Mr. Farley, 59, also lived in Brazil and Canada when he was growing up. His career started not in the auto industry but at IBM. He spent a long stretch at Toyota. He helped the Japanese automaker overcome its reputation for making boring and economical cars by working on its fledgling Lexus luxury brand, now a powerhouse.“He has what I call a restless mind,” said Jim Press, a former senior executive at Toyota and Chrysler. “His mind is never idling, always contemplating. He has a boldness that helps him push beyond what others think.”Mr. Farley has family roots in the automotive industry.Sylvia Jarrus for The New York TimesIn 2007, Alan R. Mulally, Ford’s chief executive at the time, hired him to help turn around Ford. He sharpened the company’s marketing, often making early use of Facebook and social media, and ran its European operations.Some at Ford bristled at his intensity. “Worrying about hurting people’s feelings isn’t at the top of his agenda,” Mr. Hesterberg said. “But it’s probably what’s necessary these days. The traditional auto industry is behind Tesla, and business as usual isn’t going to cut it.”In the last few years, Mr. Farley re-evaluated Ford’s strategy, visited technology companies in California and came to a realization: “They’re after our customers.”In 2018, Ford’s brain trust saw that the company was at great risk of falling behind Tesla, G.M. and Rivian in electric cars and pickup trucks. Ford decided not to build a new electric truck and its batteries from scratch as other automakers were doing, but to modify an existing F-150, buying batteries designed by a supplier. The move was risky because converting traditional vehicles to battery-powered ones can be difficult — batteries weigh more than engines and are placed under the floor rather than under the front hood.“We didn’t know how this would turn out, but we knew there would be a heavy penalty if we didn’t swing for the fences,” Mr. Farley said.Yet the Ford truck team’s first estimate for how many Lightnings it might sell was a paltry 20,000 a year. The estimate was oddly low because Tesla was achieving sales growth of about 50 percent a year and planning to build two giant factories.Cars Are About Software NowIn part because of his team’s lowball estimate for Lightning sales, Mr. Farley, who became chief executive in December 2020, said he was increasingly convinced that Ford needed to transform itself. Many auto executives acknowledge that one of Tesla’s main advantages is that it is far ahead of established automakers in developing software that operates its motors, manages it batteries, and informs and entertains drivers and passengers. Partly as a result, Tesla, born in Silicon Valley, makes cars that go farther on a full battery than cars made by almost anybody else.Tesla can also remotely update the software in all its cars, an ability that Ford and other established carmakers have only recently begun using. Most cars made by established manufacturers must be taken to dealers for even minor upgrades or fixes.It is not surprising, then, that Mr. Farley worries most about the potential for software bugs in the Lightning’s millions of lines of code.“As an automotive company, we’ve been trained to put vehicles out when they’re perfect,” he said. “But with software, you can change it with over-the-air updates. Our quality system isn’t used to this software orientation.”Mr. Farley said it was so critical for Ford to beef up its software chops that he spent months recruiting one of the top names in auto technology, Doug Field, who has held senior positions at Tesla and Apple.In an interview, Mr. Field, who early in his career worked at Ford, said he was drawn by the chance to build a technology team at a company with a century’s expertise in engineering and manufacturing. “If we can combine those, that is going to be something to be reckoned with,” he said.In March, Ford announced it was separating into two divisions — one, Ford Blue, will continue making internal combustion models, and another, Model E, headed by Mr. Farley and Mr. Field, will develop electric vehicles.So far, investors have supported Mr. Farley’s strategy. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ford stock traded as high as $25, up more than 300 percent since Mr. Farley took the helm, but it has fallen back to about $15. Still, Ford’s market value now exceeds that of G.M., which has long been the largest U.S. automaker.Yet Wall Street still thinks that Tesla, which is worth more than $1 trillion, will dominate the industry and that companies like Ford, worth $62 billion, and G.M., $58 billion, will become relative minnows.No wonder that Mr. Farley is spending most of his days on the Lightning. Over a dinner near his home in Birmingham, north of Detroit, he pulled out his phone and scrolled through a long email he gets every evening, with updates on every facet of the launch. “Software, manufacturing, batteries, chips, body assembly,” he said, reading off the subheadings.Workers on the production line of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning.Sylvia Jarrus for The New York TimesOne night recently, Mr. Ford was in California when an email arrived late in the evening — from Mr. Farley, who was nine time zones away in Germany. “Jim had four or five things he wanted to talk to me about,” Mr. Ford said. “I get at least two updates a day from him.”Computer chips are a big concern. A shortage has been disrupting auto production around the world for more than a year, and outside the Dearborn Truck Plant a few hundred gasoline-powered F-150 trucks are parked and waiting for a minor but crucial component — the device that controls their automatic windshield wipers is delayed for the want of chips.Before his test drive, Mr. Farley took an hourlong tour of the Lightning assembly line, looking at how much work remains.At a section of the production line, he was shown new robotic, self-guided skids that carry the Lightning’s steel bed, or box, from one work station to the next. The skids eliminate the need for a costly and complex overhead conveyor system. Bill Dorley, the box team leader, told Mr. Farley that his crew was practically ready to go. “We just need parts,” he said.Just outside that section of the plant, heavy earth-moving machines were demolishing the concrete walls and floors of a building that was built in the 1930s to produce the Ford Model A. That space will allow the company to expand Lightning production. As Mr. Farley moved along the assembly line, workers waved and shouted greetings and sought selfies with the boss.Approaching a group of workers, Mr. Farley asked how they were doing and what they needed.Michael Johnson, who will bolt in the Lightning’s suspension system, highlighted one of the central concerns that many manufacturing workers have about electric vehicles: jobs. Because electric vehicles have fewer parts than conventional trucks, they can be made by fewer workers. Mr. Johnson was specifically concerned about a truck plant that Ford is building in Tennessee, a state that has been less welcoming to unions like the one that represents workers in Dearborn.“Is this plant going to be safe?” Mr. Johnson asked.Mr. Farley replied that the Tennessee plant would build a different truck. He added that Ford planned to start making the motors and axles for its electric vehicles, rather than buying them from suppliers. “So our own plants are going to be very busy,” he said.Ford’s future rests on that being the case. More

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    Soaring Cost of Diesel Ripples Through the Global Economy

    Farmers are spending more to keep tractors and combines running. Shipping and trucking companies are passing higher costs to retailers, which are beginning to pass them on to shoppers. And local governments are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars extra to fill up school buses. Construction costs could soon rise, too.The source is the sudden surge in the price of diesel, which is quietly undercutting the American and global economies by pushing up inflation and pressuring supply chains from manufacturing to retail. It is one more cost of the war in Ukraine. Russia is a major exporter of both diesel and the crude oil that diesel is made from in refineries.Car owners in the United States have been shocked by gasoline prices of more than $4 a gallon, but there has been an even bigger increase in the price of diesel, which plays a critical role in the global economy because it powers so many different kinds of vehicles and equipment. A gallon of diesel is selling for an average of $5.19 in the United States, according to government figures, up from $3.61 in January. In Germany, the retail price has shot up to 2.15 euros a liter, or $9.10 a gallon, from €1.66 at the end of February, according to ADAC, the country’s version of AAA.Fueling stations in Argentina have begun rationing diesel, jeopardizing one of the world’s leading agricultural economies, and energy analysts warn that the same could soon happen in Europe, where some businesses report spending twice as much on diesel as they did a year ago.“Not only is it a historic level, but it’s increased at a historic pace,” said Mac Pinkerton, president of North American surface transportation for C.H. Robinson, which provides supply chain services to trucking companies and other customers. “We have never experienced anything like this before.”The sharp jump is putting immense pressure on trucking firms, especially smaller operations that are already suffering from driver shortages and scarce spare parts. Many can pass increased fuel costs on to their customers only after a few weeks or months.Eventually consumers will feel the effect in higher prices for all manner of goods. While hard to quantify, inflation will be most visible for big-ticket items like automobiles or home appliances, economists say.“Really, everything that we buy online or in a store is on a truck at some point,” said Bob Costello, the chief economist for American Trucking Associations.Trucks lining up on Terminal Island between the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles.Alex Welsh for The New York TimesManufacturers are also heavy users of diesel, leading to higher prices for factory goods. Food will go up in price because farm equipment generally runs on diesel.“It’s not just the fuel we put into pickups, tractors, combines,” said Chris Edgington, an Iowa corn farmer. “It’s a cost of transporting those goods to the farm, it’s a cost of transporting them away.”At the start of the pandemic, diesel prices dropped steeply as the global economy slowed, factories shut down and stores closed. But beginning in early 2021 there was a sharp rebound as truck and rail traffic resumed. Prices, which increased pretty steadily last year, picked up momentum in January as Russia massed troops near Ukraine and then invaded. Low stockpiles of the fuel, particularly in Europe, have added to the price pressures.“Diesel is the most sensitive, the most cyclical product in the oil industry,” said Hendrik Mahlkow, a researcher at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy in Germany who has studied commodity prices. “Rising prices will distribute through the whole value chain.”Refineries, which turn crude oil into fuels that can be used in cars and trucks, have tried to play catch-up on both sides of the Atlantic in recent months. But they have not been able to make more diesel, gasoline and jet fuel fast enough. That is in part because refineries have closed in Europe and North America in recent years and more of the world’s fuels are being refined in Asia and the Middle East.Since January 2019, refinery capacity has declined 5 percent in the United States and 6 percent in Europe, according to Turner, Mason & Company, a consulting firm in Dallas.Europe is particularly vulnerable because it relies on Russia for as much as 10 percent of its diesel. Europe’s own diesel production is also dependent on Russia, which is a big supplier of crude oil to the continent. Some analysts say Europe may have to begin rationing diesel as early as next month unless the shortage eases.Diesel prices and Germany’s dependence on Russian energy were among the factors that on Wednesday prompted Germany’s Council of Economic Experts to cut its forecast for growth in 2022 by more than half, to 1.8 percent.Russian diesel has been flowing to Europe since the invasion last month, but traders, banks, insurance companies and shippers are increasingly turning away from the country’s diesel, oil and other exports.Several large European oil companies have announced that they are leaving Russia. TotalEnergies, the French oil giant, said this month that it would stop buying Russian diesel and oil by the end of the year.The market for oil and diesel is global, and companies can usually find another source if their main supplier can’t deliver. But no oil company or country can quickly make up for the loss of Russian energy.Saudi Arabia, for example, has not increased diesel exports because one of its largest refineries is undergoing maintenance. The kingdom and its allies in OPEC Plus have also refused to ramp up crude oil production because they are happy to have oil prices stay high. Russia belongs to the group and has significant sway over its fellow members.Christine Hemmel is a manager of a trucking company in Ober-Ramstadt, Germany, that has been in her family for four generations. Her family’s business has almost all the challenges that medium-size haulers have faced since the pandemic’s outbreak.The Russia-Ukraine War and the Global EconomyCard 1 of 6Rising concerns. More

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    Patrick Gelsinger is Intel's True Believer

    Patrick Gelsinger was 18 years old and four months into an entry-level job at Intel when he heard a pivotal sermon at a Silicon Valley church in February 1980. There, a minister quoted Jesus from the Book of Revelation.“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” the minister said. “So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”The words jolted Mr. Gelsinger, reshaping his philosophy. He realized he had been a lukewarm believer, one who practiced his faith just once a week. He vowed never to be neither hot nor cold again.Now, at age 60, Mr. Gelsinger is hot about one thing in particular: Revitalizing Intel, a Silicon Valley icon that lost its leading position in chip manufacturing.The 120,000-person company was a household name in the 1990s, celebrated as a fount of innovation as its microprocessors became the electronic brains in the vast majority of computers. But Intel failed to place its chips into smartphones, which became the device of choice for most people. Apple and Google instead grew into the trillion-dollar emblems of Silicon Valley.Rejuvenating Intel is partly about Mr. Gelsinger’s own ambitions. As a young engineer, he once wrote down a goal of leading Intel one day. But in 2009, after spending his entire career at the company, he was forced out. A year ago, he was wooed back for a surprise second chance.His mission is also about America’s place in the world. Mr. Gelsinger wants to return the United States to a leading role in semiconductor production, reducing the country’s dependence on manufacturers in Asia and easing a global chip shortage. Intel, he believes, can spearhead the charge. If he succeeds, the impact could extend far beyond computers to just about every device with an on-off switch.The quest faces many obstacles. Steering a $200 billion company while chasing a goal of raising U.S. chip production to 30 percent globally from about 12 percent today requires tens of billions of dollars, political maneuvering with governments and years of patience.“You’re going to have to spend a lot of money and you’re going to have to spend it for a long period of time,” said Simon Segars, who recently stepped down as chief executive of Arm, a British company whose chip designs power most smartphones. “Whether governments have the stomach for that over the long term remains to be seen.”In four interviews, Mr. Gelsinger acknowledged the difficulties. But the father of four and grandfather of eight has pursued the goals with intensity.In March, he unveiled a $20 billion project to add two chip factories to Intel’s complex near Phoenix. Last month, he joined President Biden to showcase a $20 billion investment in a new chip manufacturing site near Columbus, Ohio. On Tuesday, he announced a $5.4 billion deal to buy Tower Semiconductor, which operates chip production services from factories in four countries.To drum up government support for his investments, Mr. Gelsinger has attended three virtual White House gatherings, spoken with two dozen members of Congress and four governors. He became a key ally to President Biden over a $52 billion package that would provide grants to companies willing to set up new U.S. chip factories. And in Europe, Mr. Gelsinger met with President Emmanuel Macron of France, President Mario Draghi of Italy, their counterparts in other countries, and the pope.Mr. Gelsinger with President Emmanuel Macron of France last June.Pool photo by Stephane De SakutinIt has been a tough slog. Intel’s stock has dropped as Mr. Gelsinger committed huge sums to chip manufacturing. The $52 billion funding package stalled for months in the House of Representatives, finally passing this month as part of broader legislation that must now be reconciled with a Senate version. Criticism of the chief executive from Wall Street analysts has ramped up.“Every day the job is way bigger than me,” Mr. Gelsinger said. But “it’s OK,” he added, because he believes he has help. “God, I need you showing up with me today because this job is way more than I could possibly do myself.”Faith and WorkIf his father had managed to buy a farm, Mr. Gelsinger would almost certainly have inherited it and become a farmer. That was expected in Robesonia, a borough in Pennsylvania Dutch country where he was raised and worked on his uncles’ farms.But there was no farm to inherit. So at age 16, Mr. Gelsinger passed a scholarship exam that took him to the Lincoln Technical Institute, a for-profit vocational school, where he earned an associate degree.Mr. Gelsinger tells this and other stories self-deprecatingly in a 2003 book of advice that he wrote for Christians titled “Balancing Your Family, Faith & Work,” which was expanded in 2008 and titled, “The Juggling Act: Bringing Balance to Your Faith, Family, and Work.”In 1979, he was interviewed at the technical institute by a manager from Intel. Unlike most of the other students there, Mr. Gelsinger had heard of the company. He breezed through questions related to his studies and predicted he could earn bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees while holding down a full-time job, said Ronald Smith, the former Intel executive who conducted the interview.“He is very smart, very ambitious and arrogant,” Mr. Smith said he wrote in a summary of the conversation. “He’ll fit right in.”Mr. Gelsinger took his first plane ride to interview at Intel in California, where he started in October 1979 as a technician. He worked on improving the reliability of microprocessors while studying for a bachelor’s degree at Santa Clara University.He soon started hanging out with the engineers who designed the chips, coming up with ideas to test the chips more efficiently. In 1982, he became the fourth engineer on the team that introduced the groundbreaking 80386 microprocessor.During a 1985 presentation near the completion of the chip, Mr. Gelsinger chided Intel’s leaders Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore and Andy Grove about balky company computers that were slowing the process.A few days later, he got a surprise call from Mr. Grove. The Hungarian-born executive, then Intel’s president who later wrote the management book “Only the Paranoid Survive,” had built a culture where lower-level employees were encouraged to challenge superiors if they could back up their positions. Mr. Grove began mentoring Mr. Gelsinger, a relationship that lasted three decades.By 1986, Mr. Grove had convinced Mr. Gelsinger not to pursue a doctorate at Stanford University and instead made him, at age 24, the leader of a 100-person team designing Intel’s 80486 microprocessor. Mr. Gelsinger eventually earned eight patents, became Intel’s youngest vice president in 1992 and the first person with the title of chief technology officer in 2001.His climb up Intel’s ladder was shaped by another priority: his faith.Though raised in the mainstream United Church of Christ, Mr. Gelsinger said he didn’t really become a Christian until he attended the nondenominational church in Silicon Valley where he met Linda Fortune, who later became his wife. It was at that church in 1980 that he heard the minister quote Revelations.After Mr. Gelsinger became a born-again Christian, he wrestled privately with whether to join the clergy. In a 2019 oral history conducted by the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., he said he eventually decided to become a “workplace minister,” where “you really view yourself as working for God as your C.E.O., even though you’re working for Intel.”Intel SlipsIn the mid-2000s, Mr. Gelsinger’s footing within Intel shifted. Mr. Grove retired as board chairman in 2004. Another executive, Paul Otellini, was appointed chief executive in 2005. Mr. Gelsinger said he was a “dissonant voice” on Intel’s senior executive team.Mr. Otellini pushed him to leave, Mr. Gelsinger said. (Mr. Otellini died in 2017.) In 2009, Mr. Gelsinger accepted an offer to become president and chief operating officer of EMC, a maker of data storage gear.Departing Intel after 30 years as a company man hurt badly. “I was just so angry and emotional about the departure,” Mr. Gelsinger said.In 2012, he became chief executive of VMware, a software company that EMC controlled. He weathered challenges there, including an aborted effort to compete in cloud computing services with Amazon, but broadened the company’s business and nearly tripled revenues.During those years, Intel slipped. For decades, the company had led the industry in delivering regular factory advances that pack more processing power into chips. But delays in perfecting new production processes allowed rivals such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Samsung Electronics to grab the lead in manufacturing technology between 2015 and 2019.Mr. Gelsinger in 2006, when he was senior vice president of Intel’s digital enterprise group, with the company’s dual core next generation chip.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesToday, T.S.M.C. makes chips designed by hundreds of other companies. It supplies the world with more than 90 percent of the chips made with the most advanced production technology. Because it is headquartered in Taiwan, which China has laid territorial claim to, its location has made it a political and supply chain chokepoint should conflict erupt over the island nation.Intel was also suffering from its missteps in the mobile market, which consumes billions of processors compared with the hundreds of millions sold for computers.After convincing Apple to use its chips in Macintosh computers in 2005, Intel had a chance to win a place in the iPhone, which debuted in 2007. But Mr. Otellini said in a 2013 interview in The Atlantic that he turned down the opportunity because the price that Apple was willing to pay for chips was too low to make a profit.The decision, which Mr. Otellini said he regretted, led Apple to use rival Arm technology for smartphones and, later, tablets. So did Samsung and other companies that make devices using Google’s Android software. More recently, Apple started using Arm chips in many new Macs.Mr. Otellini and his successors prioritized Intel’s profit margins while failing to take risks to move into new markets and outflank rivals, former company insiders now acknowledge. If boiled down to a book, “it could be called ‘the insufficiently paranoid don’t survive,’” said Reed Hundt, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman who served on Intel’s board from 2001 to 2020, in a nod to Mr. Grove’s “Only the Paranoid Survive.”As questions swirled about Intel’s future, Mr. Gelsinger was viewed as a possible savior. But he insisted he was committed to VMware, a point he seemed to underscore by adding a temporary tattoo with the company’s name on his arm during a 2018 conference in Las Vegas.Then, just before Thanksgiving 2020, an Intel director asked Mr. Gelsinger to join the company’s board. Mr. Gelsinger asked for permission from Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Technologies, which then controlled VMware.“I knew Intel needed some help and Pat was somebody who could help a lot, so I said ‘sure,’” Mr. Dell said.Understand the Global Chip ShortageCard 1 of 7In short supply. More

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    How The Trucker Protests Are Snarling the Auto Industry

    Blockades of U.S.-Canada border crossings could hurt the auto industry, factory workers and the economy, which are still recovering from pandemic disruptions.After two years of the pandemic, semiconductor shortages and supply chain chaos, it seemed as if nothing else could go wrong for the auto industry and the millions of people it employs. But then came thousands of truckers who, angry about vaccine mandates, have been blocking major border crossings between Canada and the United States.With Canadian officials baffled about what to do, the main routes that handle the steel, aluminum and other parts that keep car factories running on both sides of the border were essentially shut down Wednesday and Thursday.Ford Motor, General Motors, Honda and Toyota have curtailed production at several factories in Michigan and Ontario, threatening paychecks and offering a fresh reminder of the fragility of global supply chains and of the deep interdependence of the U.S. and Canadian economies, which exchange $140 million in vehicles and parts every day.No one knows how this is going to end. The protests are expected to swell in the coming days and could spread, including to the United States. Canada’s transport minister has called the bridge blockades illegal. Marco Mendicino, Canada’s minister of public safety, said on Thursday that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the national force, was sending additional officers to the Canadian capital, Ottawa, and to Windsor, Ontario. The mayor of Windsor has threatened to remove the protesters. But those statements have seemed to have little impact. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan pleaded with Canadian officials to quickly reopen traffic.“They must take all necessary and appropriate steps to immediately and safely reopen traffic so we can continue growing our economy,” Ms. Whitmer said in a statement on Thursday.The chaos is already starting to take an economic toll. The pain is likely to be most acute for smaller auto parts suppliers, for independent truckers and for workers who get paid based on their production. Many of these groups, unlike large automakers like G.M., Ford and Toyota, lack the clout to raise prices of their goods and services. Companies and workers in Canada are more likely to suffer because they are more dependent on the United States.The longer crossings between the countries remain blocked, the more severe the damage, not only to the auto industry but also to the communities that depend on manufacturing salaries. Workers at smaller firms typically receive no compensation for lost hours, said Dino Chiodo, the director of auto at the giant Canadian union Unifor. Workers who have been sent home early because of parts shortages will spend less at stores and restaurants.“People say, ‘I have $200 less this week, what do I do?’” Mr. Chiodo said. “It affects the Canadian and U.S. economy as a whole.”Auto factories and suppliers in the United States generally keep at least two weeks of raw materials on hand, said Carla Bailo, the president of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. If the bridges remain blocked for longer than that, she said, “then you’re looking at layoffs.”The blockades came after a demonstration in Ottawa that started nearly two weeks ago. The protests began over a mandate that truck drivers coming from the United States be vaccinated against the coronavirus and have grown to include various pandemic restrictions. Some have demanded that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau resign. The truckers have been joined by various groups, including some displaying Nazi symbols and damaging public monuments. Police in Ottawa said on Thursday that the protesters and their supporters, including some in the United States, had almost overwhelmed the city’s 911 system with calls.The crossing that has the auto industry and government officials most concerned is the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor and Detroit. It carries roughly a quarter of the trade between the two countries, which has been relatively unrestricted for decades. While food and other products are also affected, about a third of the cargo that uses the bridge is related to the auto industry, Ms. Bailo said.The blockade has been felt as far south as Kentucky, where production has been disrupted at a Toyota factory, the company said on Thursday. The shutdown at the border also will prevent manufacturing at Toyota’s three Canadian plants for the rest of the week, a spokesman for the automaker, Scott Vazin, said.Demonstrators blocking access to the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor. The bridge accounts for roughly a quarter of the trade between the United States and Canada.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press, via Associated PressG.M. said it had canceled two shifts on Wednesday and Thursday at a factory in Lansing, Mich., that makes Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse sport utility vehicles. The company also sent workers from the first shift at a plant in Flint, Mich., home early. Ford said Thursday that plants in Windsor and Oakville, also in Ontario, were running at reduced capacity.Shortages of semiconductors and other components have not been all bad for giant automakers, creating scarcity that has driven up prices of cars in the last year. Ford and G.M. both reported healthy profits for 2021. And the economic damage will not be severe if the bridge and other crossings reopen soon, industry experts said.But the last two years have shown that, because supply chains are so complex, problems at obscure parts makers can have far-reaching and unpredictable impact. Last year, Ford had to shut down plants for weeks at a time in part because of a fire at a chip factory in Japan.“If it stretches on for weeks it could be catastrophic,” said Peter Nagle, an analyst who covers the car industry at IHS Markit, a research firm.Mr. Nagle said the bridge blockade was worse than the semiconductor shortage for carmakers. They “were already running pretty tight because of other supply chain shortages,” he said. “This is just bad news on top of bad news.”The auto industry operates relatively seamlessly across Canada, the United States and Mexico. Some parts can travel back and forth across borders multiple times as raw materials are processed and are turned into components and, eventually, vehicles.An engine block, for example, might be cast in Canada, sent to Michigan to be machined for pistons, then sent back to Canada for assembly into a finished motor. The blockades have stranded some truckers on the wrong side of the border, creating a chain reaction of missed deliveries.The slowdown in Canadian trade will disproportionately affect New York, Michigan and Ohio, said Arthur Wheaton, the director of labor studies at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. At the same time, he added, the protests were “certainly raising concerns for all U.S. manufacturers.”“There is already a shortage of truck drivers in North America, so protests keeping truckers off their routes exacerbates problems for an already fragile supply chain,” Mr. Wheaton said.Carmakers had hoped that shortages of computer chips and other components would ease this year, allowing them to concentrate on the long-term: the transition to electric vehicles.A larger fear for many elected officials and business executives is that the scene at the Ambassador Bridge could inspire other protests. The Department of Homeland Security warned in an internal memo that a convoy of protesting truckers was planning to travel from California to Washington, D.C., potentially disrupting the Super Bowl and President Biden’s State of the Union address on March 1.“While there are currently no indications of planned violence,” the memo, which was dated Tuesday, said, “if hundreds of trucks converge in a major metropolitan city, the potential exists to severely disrupt transportation, federal government operations, commercial facilities and emergency services through gridlock and potential counter protests.”Mr. Chiodo, the Canadian union leader, said that “the people who are demonstrating are doing it for the wrong reasons. They want to get back to the way things were before the pandemic, and in reality they are shutting things down.”The scene in Ottawa remained a raucous party Thursday, with hundreds of people on the street, many wearing Canadian flags like capes. The song “Life Is a Highway,” by the Canadian musician Tom Cochrane, pumped from loudspeakers set up on the back of an empty trailer that had been converted into a stage.But there was a thinning out of protesters — with some empty spaces where trucks had been the day before.Johnny Neufeld, 39, a long-haul trucker from Windsor, Ontario, said the vaccine mandate would spell the end of his job transporting molds into the United States since he had chosen not to be inoculated out of fear the shots had been developed too quickly. He got his first ticket from the police Thursday morning, a fine of 130 Canadian dollars (about $100) for being in a no-stopping zone.“This is a souvenir,” he said.Dan Bilefsky More

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    G.M. Cancels Shifts at Michigan Plant Over Canada Protest Disruption

    General Motors is the latest automaker to suspend production because of protests at a crucial Canadian border crossing that have disrupted supply chains already in turmoil because of the pandemic.G.M. said it had canceled two shifts on Wednesday and Thursday at a factory in Lansing, Mich., that makes sport utility vehicles. The plant depends on components that normally travel across a bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit that was closed by truck drivers and far-right groups angry about vaccine mandates and demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.Ford Motor and Toyota have also shut down some operations because factories could not get parts manufactured in Canada.The shutdown at the border will prevent manufacturing at Toyota’s three Canadian plants for the rest of this week, Scott Vazin, a spokesman for Toyota Motor North America, said Thursday.As long as the shutdowns are short lived, the impact on automaker sales and worker livelihoods should be limited. Companies are likely to make up for any lost production by running extra shifts or other measures.“A couple of days shouldn’t be that significant,” Mr. Vazin said. “We’re certainly hoping the blockade ends.”Said Deep, a spokesman at Ford, said Thursday morning that the company was running its plants in Oakville and Windsor, both in Ontario, at reduced capacity.“This interruption on the Detroit-Windsor bridge hurts customers, autoworkers, suppliers, communities and companies on both sides of the border that are already two years into parts shortages resulting from the global semiconductor issue, Covid and more,” Mr. Deep said. “We hope this situation is resolved quickly because it could have widespread impact on all automakers in the U.S. and Canada.”John Bordignon, a spokesman for Honda Canada, said Thursday morning that the company’s plant in Alliston, Ontario, had temporarily suspended one production line Wednesday evening but was back online on Thursday.The company will continue to monitor the flow of goods between Canada and the United States, and further disruptions were “certainly possible,” he said.Protesters challenging Canada’s vaccine requirements and other pandemic restrictions began cutting off traffic Monday on the Ambassador Bridge, the vital span that connects Detroit and Windsor.The bridge accounts for roughly a quarter of the trade between the United States and Canada. Trucks carry an estimated $300 million worth of goods across the bridge each day, about a third of which are related to the automobile industry.Companies have begun rerouting shipments to alternative crossing routes, like the Blue Water Bridge, which links Port Huron, Mich., and Sarnia, Ontario. But a new blockade on Wednesday on a route to that bridge, as well as a surge of diverted cars and trucks, slowed traffic there.The closings are likely to lead to losses for other industries, as well. On Wednesday, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said that the Biden administration was tracking potential disruptions to agricultural exports to Canada.Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, said in a statement on Thursday that the blockade was putting the state’s economy at risk.“The blockade is having a significant impact on Michigan’s working families who are just trying to do their jobs,” she said. “Our communities and automotive, manufacturing, and agriculture businesses are feeling the effects.”Carmakers worldwide have struggled with shortages of semiconductors and other parts that severely curtailed production and sales. They had hoped that the flow of components and materials would start to return to normal this year.Ford said last Friday that it would be forced to shut down some production lines and reduce work hours at plants across North America this week because of chip shortages.Most carmakers operate on a “just-in-time” system that dispatches parts and materials to their factories as they are needed. The system has helped manufacturers reduce costs.But it has also left companies vulnerable as the pandemic closed foreign ports and factories and overloaded shipping companies, warehouses and truckers.David C. Adams, the president at Global Automakers of Canada, which represents Toyota and Honda, said auto facilities typically had about two days of inventory on hand. “Then things start to become problematic in terms of having enough parts to keep the lines running.” More

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    Democrats Renew Push for Industrial Policy Bill Aimed at China

    A major competitiveness bill passed the Senate last year with bipartisan support, only to stall. Democrats hope to revive it in the House, but first they will have to bridge big differences.WASHINGTON — Biden administration officials and Democrats in Congress are pushing to revive stalled legislation that would pour billions of dollars into scientific research and development and shore up domestic manufacturing, amid deep differences on Capitol Hill about the best way to counter China and confront persistent supply chain woes.House Democrats unveiled a 2,900-page bill on Tuesday evening that would authorize $45 billion in grants and loans to support supply chain resilience and American manufacturing, along with providing billions of dollars in new funding for scientific research. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that she hoped lawmakers would quickly begin negotiations with the Senate, which passed its own version of the bill last June, to settle on compromise legislation that could be sent to President Biden for his signature.But the effort faces obstacles in Congress, where attempts to sink significant federal resources into scientific research and development to bolster competitiveness with China and combat a shortage of semiconductors have faltered. The Senate-passed measure fizzled last year amid ideological disputes with the House and a focus on efforts to pass Mr. Biden’s infrastructure and social policy bills. For months, the competitiveness measure was rarely even mentioned, except perhaps by Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, who has personally championed it.But facing a disruptive semiconductor shortage that has broken down supply chains and helped fuel inflation, Democrats are now vigorously pressing ahead on the bill. With Mr. Biden’s domestic agenda sputtering, the party is eager for a legislative victory, and top administration officials and lawmakers have said they hope to send a compromise bill to the president’s desk in a matter of months.“We have no time to waste in improving American competitiveness, strengthening our lead in global innovation and addressing supply chain challenges, including in the semiconductor industry,” Mr. Schumer said.Both the House bill and the one that passed the Senate last year would send a lifeline to the semiconductor industry during a global chip shortage that has shut auto plants and rippled through the economy. The bills would offer chip companies $52 billion in grants and subsidies with few restrictions.The measures would also pour billions more into scientific research and development pipelines in the United States, create grants and foster agreements between companies and research universities to encourage breakthroughs in new technologies, and establish new manufacturing jobs and apprenticeships.“The proposals laid out by the House and Senate represent the sort of transformational investments in our industrial base and research and development that helped power the United States to lead the global economy in the 20th century,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “They’ll help bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, and they’re squarely focused on easing the sort of supply chain bottlenecks like semiconductors that have led to higher prices for the middle class.”The semiconductor shortage has disrupted the economy, broken down supply chains and helped fuel inflation.Sarahbeth Maney/The New York TimesLawmakers will still need to overcome differing views in the House and Senate over how best to take on China and, perhaps more crucially, how to fund the nation’s scientific research.“There are disagreements, legitimate disagreements,” Gina Raimondo, the commerce secretary, said in an interview. “How do we do this? How do we get it right? There doesn’t seem to be much disagreement over the core $52 billion appropriation for chips. There is disagreement around how we make investments in research and development in basic science.”One major difference is that while the Senate bill invests heavily in specific fields of cutting-edge technology, such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing, the House bill places few stipulations on the new round of funding, other than to say that it should go toward fundamental research.In a memo on the legislation, House aides wrote that their measure was “focusing on solutions first, not tech buzzwords.”Some experts argue that approach lacks urgency. Stephen Ezell, the vice president for global innovation policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a policy group that receives funding from telecommunications and tech companies, called the House bill “not sufficient to enable the United States to win the advanced technology competition with China.” He argued that the focus on advanced technology in the Senate-passed bill would do more to increase American competitiveness.How the Supply Chain Crisis UnfoldedCard 1 of 9The pandemic sparked the problem. More

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    Commerce Dept. Survey Uncovers ‘Alarming’ Chip Shortages

    Increased demand for the semiconductors that power cars, electronics and electrical grids have stoked inflation and could cause more factory shutdowns in the United States.WASHINGTON — The United States is facing an “alarming” shortage of semiconductors, a government survey of more than 150 companies that make and buy chips found; the situation is threatening American factory production and helping to fuel inflation, Gina M. Raimondo, the commerce secretary, said in an interview on Monday.She said the findings showed a critical need to support domestic manufacturing and called on Congress to pass legislation aimed at bolstering U.S. competitiveness with China by enabling more American production.“It’s alarming, really, the situation we’re in as a country, and how urgently we need to move to increase our domestic capacity,” Ms. Raimondo said.The findings show demand for the chips that power cars, electronics, medical devices and other products far outstripping supply, even as global chip makers approach their maximum production capacity.While demand for semiconductors increased 17 percent from 2019 to 2021, there was no commensurate increase in supply. A vast majority of semiconductor fabrication plants are using about 90 percent of their capacity to manufacture chips, meaning they have little immediate ability to increase their output, according to the data that the Commerce Department compiled.The need for chips is expected to increase, as technologies that use vast amounts of semiconductors, like 5G and electric vehicles, become more widespread.The combination of surging demand for consumer products that contain chips and pandemic-related disruptions in production has led to shortages and skyrocketing prices for semiconductors over the past two years.Chip shortages have forced some factories that rely on the components to make their products, like those of American carmakers, to slow or suspend production. That has dented U.S. economic growth and led to higher car prices, a big factor in the soaring inflation in the United States. The price of a used car grew 37 percent last year, helping to push inflation to a 40-year high in December.The Commerce Department sent out a request for information in September to global chip makers and consumers to gather information about inventories, production capacity and backlogs in an effort to understand where bottlenecks exist in the industry and how to alleviate them.The results of that survey, which the Commerce Department published Tuesday morning, reveal how scarce global supplies of chips have become.The median inventory among buyers had fallen to fewer than five days from 40 days before the pandemic, meaning that any hiccup in chip production — because of a winter storm, for example, or another coronavirus outbreak — could cause shortages that would shut down U.S. factories and again destabilize supply chains, Ms. Raimondo said.“We have no room for error,” she added.To help address the issue, Biden administration officials have coalesced behind a bill that the Senate passed in June as an answer to some of the nation’s supply chain woes.The bill, known in the Senate as the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, would pour nearly a quarter-trillion dollars into scientific research and development to bolster competitiveness against China and prop up semiconductor makers by providing $52 billion in emergency subsidies.Momentum on the legislation stalled amid ideological disputes between the House and Senate over how to direct the funding. In June, House lawmakers passed a narrower bill, eschewing the Senate’s focus on technology development in favor of financing fundamental research.But administration officials, led by Ms. Raimondo, have begun prodding lawmakers behind the scenes in an effort to help bridge their differences to swiftly pass the bill, emphasizing the urgency of quickly signing solutions into law.“There’s no getting around this. There is no other solution,” Ms. Raimondo said. “We need more facilities.”On Tuesday evening, House Democrats unveiled a sweeping, 2,900-page bill that lawmakers said they hoped would be a starting point for negotiations with the Senate, in an effort to ultimately pass a manufacturing and supply chain bill into law. In a statement minutes after the bill text was made public, President Biden hailed both proposals and encouraged “quick action to get this to my desk as soon as possible.”Understand the Global Chip ShortageCard 1 of 7In short supply. More