The automotive nightmare we're in is set to roll into 2023, and we're not even talking about BMW's design language.
The ongoing chip shortage has caused problems for every facet of the automotive industry. Automakers are struggling to build cars, with some having to cut production or close facilities for prolonged periods. As a result, there's not enough supply to meet pent-up consumer demand which has led to unscrupulous dealerships placing absurd markups on vehicle prices.
This vicious cycle has no plans of letting up either, according to BMW's CEO. In an interview with German newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung, Oliver Zipse said he believed the industry was still at the height of the shortage. "I expect us to start seeing improvements at the latest next year, but we will still have to deal with a fundamental shortage in 2023."
In May last year, Zipse said he expects the global shortage to last up to two years. "There's [an] intense focus on the issue globally, so it's expected for supply and demand to be back in balance within two years at the latest," he said at the time.
Despite the challenges facing the luxury carmaker, BMW has tacked the crisis at full speed and has, so far, been very successful. In December, the brand delivered its one-millionth electric car and, despite incredible EV sales of 100,000 in 2021, the brand plans to double that figure this year. It's managed to achieve all of this in spite of the challenging conditions.
In fact, BMW used the crisis as an opportunity and stopped producing low-profit vehicles to focus on high-end machines which yield greater returns. As such, the company's 2021 earnings soared. This cunning strategy even saw revenue increase by 12.4% or, in dollar terms, a heady $122.4 billion. Electric vehicles such as the divisive BMW iX and the sleekly styled i4 Gran Coupe led the charge, along with other high-priced Bavarian machinery.
Zipse isn't one to mince his words. Previously, the outspoken CEO has said he believes a ban on ICE cars is short-sighted. "It would be harmful to simply give up a technology in which you have a global market position. I don't think that would help the climate or anyone else," he said.
BMW's EV onslaught is paying off, though. The range is only set to grow stronger with the imminent introduction of the all-electric BMW i7, a battery-powered luxury sedan promising great things. With cutting-edge technology and a horde of onboard electronics, it will require plenty of the scarce chips.
For BMW's sake (and the automotive industry, in general), we hope 2023 does mark the end of the troubling crisis that has held the segment hostage for far too long. Coupled with the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, it's set to be a bumpy ride for the industry as a whole. Hopefully, carmakers can continue to ride it out.