The chip famine is starving the global auto industry and putting car buyers on a strict diet. So far this year, seven million cars that were supposed to be produced haven’t been, according to IHS Markit data. Auto companies are shutting down production lines for weeks at a time and furloughing employees as a result of the chip shortage. Toyota has slashed its production 40% in September.
All this is hitting consumers. Car dealers’ lots across the U.S. are sparse. The inventory of new cars in the U.S. is only about 30% of pre-pandemic levels, and buyers snap up used cars as soon as they find them. The shortage doesn’t end there. Rental companies reduced their inventories during the pandemic and now don’t have enough cars to meet demand. So if you’re renting, it will cost you more than expected—if one is even available.