Nissan Ariya delayed as electric SUV faces chip challenge

Nissan's all-electric SUV is being delayed, with the Ariya now expected to arrive months later than planned due to ongoing chip shortages. The SUV, set to be Nissan's largest EV, was intended to go on sale in Japan midway through 2021, but that roadmap has been pushed back – with an impact on international availability as a result.

Revealed in July 2020 – though heavily previewed in concept form back in 2019 – the Ariya is Nissan's second big EV push following the original Leaf. Larger and more luxurious than that model, it promises up to 300 miles of range (test cycle depending) and both single- and dual-motor configurations.

Originally, Nissan promised that it would go on sale in Japan by mid-2021. A US and Canada debut would follow later in the year. Now, though, those plans are being pushed back.

Nissan has confirmed that Japan now won't get the Ariya until the winter, according to executive Vice President Asako Hoshino, the news first reported by Reuters. "Sales in the United States and Europe will typically come around two month latest," the exec explained. That likely means a 2022 release for those markets.

The Aryia isn't the first car to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Automakers like GM and Ford have been forced to be selective with their production lines, reserving stockpiles of chips for the most lucrative models in the face of limited replenishment. Release roadmaps for new models, meanwhile, have been most impacted, and the Ariya is only one of a number of launches that have slipped as a result. Ford, for example, had to push back the Bronco SUV's release because of the pandemic.

When, exactly, that situation may change remains unclear. Limited global vaccine availability means the suppliers all automakers are dependent upon – and, indeed, the broader tech industry as a whole – are still constrained in their ability to meet demand. It's a situation that is believed to have also hamstrung release schedules for companies like Apple.

Conversely, auto demand has actually been strong during the pandemic, with particular interest in pickup trucks and other utility vehicles. Nissan revealed an update to its Frontier pickup earlier in the year, but is yet to join rivals like Ford and Chevrolet in confirming an all-electric version.

Leaf sales in the US rose by almost 50-percent in the first three months of 2021, versus an almost 11-percent average across Nissan and Infiniti's whole range. The Ariya is expected to be even more popular, given the market's appetite for SUVs and crossovers.