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Chip Shortage Claims an Unusual Victim: DriveTribe

DriveTribe, a social-media site that was focused on the automotive industry and car enthusiasm, has shut down.

The cause: The semiconductor chip shortage.

Yes, really. The site, which was founded by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May — the TV hosts made famous by Top Gear and later The Grand Tour — is shutting down because the three say that the “severe reductions in marketing budgets across the industry” caused by the chip shortage have led to a drop in advertising revenue.

DriveTribe goes dark at month’s end.

“We’re all really disappointed that challenges in the industry – not in the least helped by the ongoing pandemic – have simply made it impossible to continue with the business in its current form,” Clarkson added in the statement.

May, for his part, was more colorful. This is fun to read in a British accent: “But ultimately, this is a business, and businesses are being kicked in the nads by everything that’s going on in the world.”

Hammond says he’ll keep the “brand alive and the conversation going” on his own social media channels.

Users can download the content they contributed, to keep it from sailing away into the ether.

I personally didn’t spend a lot of time on DriveTribe, but I understand that this is a sad day for enthusiasts and automotive media. It’s one fewer online community where automotive enthusiasts could hang out online, and since the site hosted some editorial content, it’s also a loss for automotive journalism.

The pandemic and the chip shortage are going to, and have already, created a lot of economic havoc in the automotive industry. DriveTribe is just the latest casualty.

[Image: Screenshot of DriveTribe homepage]

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