Any prediction that the new year was going to herald the end of the global microchip shortage and its persistent interruption of badly needed vehicles was wishful thinking.
Insufficient chip supplies will probably keep tripping up the industry for months to come, say auto executives and production forecasters, even as some automakers make deals to pay more for chips to get a higher priority among customers, and even as chipmakers promise new capacity plans.
"We're seeing some relief for manufacturers, but the problem isn't going to go away anytime soon," said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting for AutoForecast Solutions. "New chip factory capacity is being built. But it will be two or three years before it has an impact on supply."
January started off calmly enough. Few plants around the world experienced problems in the first days after the holiday break, even after 2021 ended with more than 10 million vehicles being canceled from production plans last year.
But that quiet didn't last long.