Back in the spring, a shortage of computer chips that had sent auto prices soaring appeared, finally, to be easing. Some relief for consumers seemed to be in sight.
That hope has now dimmed. A surge in COVID-19 cases from the delta variant in several Asian countries that are the main producers of auto-grade chips is worsening the supply shortage. It is further delaying a return to normal auto production and keeping the supply of vehicles artificially low.
And that means, analysts say, that record-high consumer prices for vehicles — new and used, as well as rental cars — will extend into next year and might not fall back toward earth until 2023.
The global parts shortage involves not just computer chips. Automakers are starting to see shortages of wiring harnesses, plastics and glass, too. And beyond autos, vital components for goods ranging from farm equipment and industrial machinery to sportswear and kitchen accessories are also bottled up at ports around the world as demand outpaces supply in the face of a resurgent virus.
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