A lack of chips makes new cars even more expensive

Wolfsburg / Duisburg (dpa) – The supply crisis for microchips is hitting the auto industry harder and harder and is increasingly making itself felt in consumers’ wallets. Because fewer vehicles are produced and come onto the market, there are fewer discounts, analyzes industry expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer.

A typical new car is on average for customers in August and September at 360 euros have become more expensive. In any case, the level is already quite high because of the limited total volume. Prices in the tense used car business are rising even more.

On the manufacturers’ side, the partially empty supplier market for semiconductor parts – the basis of all electronics built into modern cars – is now leaving threatening marks. At VW, for example, a “task force” takes care of the purchase of batches that are still available around the clock. But at the same time, production shifts continue to be canceled for weeks. Europe’s largest car company announced on Wednesday that it would mainly have to run short-time working at its headquarters in Wolfsburg until mid-October – not for the first time could hardly be better. After postponing investments in the toughest Corona months, many private customers and companies are confident of buying durable goods such as cars again. However, manufacturers cannot deliver as much as would be theoretically possible because they lack microchips. “Halden” with half-finished cars and trucks are already forming in some factory yards and parking areas.

Dudenhöffer does not expect any changes in price developments anytime soon. “In the next few months, too, new car buyers will have to reckon with falling discounts,” he estimates. If you want to switch to a used car, it is hardly easier: In July and August, typical three-year-old used cars were around two and a half percent more expensive, according to figures from the market watcher Deutsche Automobil Treuhand (DAT). More recent data are not yet available, but a further increase is expected. “The used car market is currently experiencing soaring prices,” reports a DAT spokesman.

The lack of chips is also partly to blame. Because of the delivery bottlenecks, many people interested in new cars switch to a young used one – and sometimes find a market that has been sold empty. “Young used cars are often in short supply, as fewer new cars have been built and registered due to the pandemic,” says DAT. Above all, there is currently a lack of company cars, rental vehicles and short registrations, which normally fill this market segment.

At least for the car trade, the current development is a “positive signal”. During the corona-related closings, used vehicles stood there for a long time, which caused high costs. “The trade needs these revenues”, explains the DAT spokesman.

A quick relaxation on the market as a whole is not to be expected. This would require significantly more completed cars. According to figures from the Munich Ifo Institute on Wednesday 96, 7 percent of companies in the auto industry complain about delivery bottlenecks.

Suppliers such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz are also in new business or the commercial vehicle divisions of Volkswagen and Daimler are affected. After contracts with chip producers that were prematurely terminated or volumes were capped in the Corona sales dent in the middle 2020, they are now missing urgently needed parts in many places. This is compounded by the semiconductor industry’s own capacity bottlenecks in Asia and the USA.

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