The automotive market is in the middle of a paradox. Manufacturers are announcing full order books, but records keep falling. In April, the market lost another 22.6% with only 108,723 registrations.
That’s 80,000 fewer cars than in April 2019. Since the beginning of the year, 474,083 cars have been sold in France, compared to 741,532 two years ago. But why do some brands refuse to sell you cars under these circumstances?
What is a semiconductor?
The reasons for manufacturers to stop their orders are known and have been the same for months. The semiconductor crisis is at the forefront of the culprits.
These are materials that have the property of being more or less conductive of electric current, taking the form of stacked ultrathin plates, comparable to microscopic transistors. These chips are ubiquitous in our airplanes, appliances, smartphones, connected objects, watches, toys, and of course, our cars.
Where does this shortcoming come from?
In the beginning, there was the Covid-19 crisis, which slowed down the factories that produced these chips, at a time when demand for computers, game consoles or televisions was increasing with confinement and teleworking, as well as the spread of technology. 5G.
Add to this the war in Ukraine and the tense international context that hinders the manufacture or delivery of multiple components for your car. Today, some assembly lines are at a standstill due to a lack of available parts.
Extended delivery dates
This shortage of sawdust and parts of all kinds leads to very long delivery times. While some manufacturers are doing well (it takes ten months for a newly purchased Kia Sportage in early May 2022), others are headed for disaster with delivery times of up to two years!
This was the case at the beginning of the year, for example, for a Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Since January 17, the manufacturer no longer accepts orders for the all-terrain vehicle! But it is not the only manufacturer in this situation.
Volkswagen no longer sells plug-in hybrids
According to German media “Automobilwoche”, German brand Volkswagen would no longer take orders for plug-in hybrid models such as the Golf, Passat, Tiguan or Touareg. A measure of interest to German customers but that can be generalized to other brands and other markets.
An issue that also concerns the launch schedule of new products from all manufacturers. “It’s impossible to predict a launch date for a new model unless you have the cables to run them,” a large group’s communications director told us this week.
Drivers are also seeing a general increase in the prices of new cars. Unless the catalog price is always officially increased, the selling price actually applied in the concession mechanically increases: “Of course, we no longer offer discounts on these models that are out of stock.” tells us about Denis Hermine, the franchise manager in eastern France.
Another way to limit demand. “As all components increase systematically, the prices of cars will also increase. It’s hard to commit to a price today and deliver a much more expensive vehicle in a year.” Denis adds Hermine.