Would 2022 really be another pandemic sequel?
A friend pointed out on Twitter that "2022" said out loud is like "2020, too" or "2020 2." (Of course, 2021 was the sequel to 2020. Maybe '22 can be the end of the trilogy?)
Seriously, we don't need another year of trying to figure out how to get back to work safely and weighing workers' individual liberties against the health of all stakeholders.
This year, 2021, started with great hope as vaccines that had been quickly and expertly developed were poised to come to market and set the global economy right again. Instead, the world stumbles to the finish with a second super-contagious variant leading to the preemptive cancellation of events in the year to come.
As frustrating as COVID-19's persistence has been, the auto industry has learned to manage quite well, for the most part. Automakers are raking in profits by prioritizing high-margin vehicles and slashing incentives. Dealers are selling at full price or above with near-zero inventory expense. Another year of scarcity should keep profits high, at least for those two groups.
Suppliers, on the other hand, have suffered from fluctuating production plans and the labor shortage. For their sake and others, let's hope for more predictable and consistent output in 2022.
One sequel I do support is this Automotive News Yearbook. This issue includes all of your favorite features (and ours): a look back at the year's top stories, Leo Michael's most-pointed and poignant cartoons and recollections of those who left this earth. And we can't forget the cars: We've got all the new vehicles on tap for the year ahead.
This year we supplemented our lists and data with even more lists and data, including nameplate-level breakdowns of projected North American production lost to the chip shortage and a tally of vehicles in operation by brand.
We also added a new feature — a celebration of the industry's Notable Champions of Diversity. We explore stories of individuals and teams who are working to make a difference in the workplace and the world by ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusion are integral to decisions big and small.
Challenges fall on the auto industry year in and year out. Through it all is the determination to streamline the process, respect the people and improve the product. Cheers to all of you working toward a better 2022.