As disruptive as the global microchip shortage has been to automakers and suppliers so far this year, it is also simply the latest in a long line of challenges that have thwarted business planning and outlooks around the industry since the waning days of 2019.
Much of that disruption can be laid at the feet of the COVID-19 pandemic. But not all of it.
Since late 2019, the world's biggest auto parts suppliers have been knocked off their game by a decline in the now-critical vehicle market of China. That segued, coincidentally, into the first widespread appearance of COVID-19 shutdowns across the Chinese industry, which in turn segued into production and consumer-demand shutdowns across Europe and North America.