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Car rental headaches are expected to stretch into 2022 or beyond

If you're waiting for the abysmal rental car landscape to clear up...don't hold your breath.

"Headaches for car renters" are expected to continue until 2022 or later, the Los Angeles Times reports, citing car rental industry experts.

Thanks in large part to a global microchip shortage cutting new car production, "the supply of new vehicles remains very tight," said Gregory Scott, a spokesperson for the American Car Rental Association.

And because of the car shortage, rental companies are keeping cars "longer before selling them and replacing them with new vehicles," the Los Angeles Times writes. Exacerbating the situation are apparent worker shortages, meaning companies can't properly staff rental counters and hire workers to move aging fleets between high and low-demand locations, per industry insiders. As a result, prices, which have been trending downward since jumping earlier this summer, are "expected to climb again as travel picks up during the upcoming holiday season," Steve Sintra, vice president and general manager of North America for travel website Kayak.com, told the Times.

Unfortunately, microchip manufacturers say it could be "a year or two before supplies can start to meet the growing demand" for vehicles and electronic devices, meaning the "shortage of cars won't ease until 2022 or later," per the Los Angeles Times. Industry problems began initially when COVID-19 forced microchip factories and distribution ports to close, interrupting the microchip supply chain. Now that demand for vehicles and electronic devices has bounced back, chip manufacturers have "struggled to keep up with the new orders."

Said Will Withington, senior vice president at Enterprise Holdings Inc., during a recent industry convention: "It continues to be a lot of uncertainty." Read more at the Los Angeles Times.