Consequences of the delivery bottlenecks: Longer waiting times when buying a car

Status: 03.11.2021 11:21 a.m.

Anyone who wants to buy a car has to bring more and more money and patience with them. Delivery times of six months are no longer uncommon – with some models even a year is common. In some cases, this also results in higher prices.

The delivery bottlenecks in large parts of the industry mean that there are significantly longer waiting times for buyers of new cars. “Depending on the make and model, most of the delivery time has leveled off at three to six months,” said Marcus Weller, market expert at the Central Association of the German Motor Vehicle Industry, the dpa news agency. With some premium models, customers would even have to wait nine months to a year before they can receive the car.

There is obviously no improvement in sight for the time being. “The problem of long delivery times could worsen in autumn 2021 until well into spring 2022,” warned Stefan Reindl, head of the Geislingen Institute for the Automotive Industry. The world’s largest chip manufacturer Intel, for example, does not expect the crisis to end for two years.

Long delivery times, especially for electric cars

“Electric vehicles are currently particularly susceptible to long delivery times,” says auto expert Reindl. They are more dependent on semiconductor elements than combustion engines, both for controlling the drive and for assistance and communication systems.

Porsche boss Oliver Blume also remains skeptical. “Anyone who believes that the semiconductor crisis will calm down in the next year is subject to a fallacy,” said Blume of the “Börsen-Zeitung”. Since the demand for semiconductors from several industries around the world is high, the automotive industry has to face the procurement crisis with fundamental changes: it has to invest in chips itself, cooperate with semiconductor manufacturers and build up its own expertise in the configuration of components.

He is concerned about the critical situation of some suppliers during the chip crisis, because they generally have fewer options for countermeasures than the automobile manufacturers. The topic of short-time work should therefore remain in the industry.

BMW benefits from high prices

The example of BMW shows that delivery problems need not be at the expense of profitability. The automaker was able to increase its profits significantly in the third quarter. The group is helped by the long delivery times in the automotive industry, of all things, which demand a lot of patience from customers.

From July to September, the company increased its profit by 42 percent to 2.58 million euros and thus to a record level. The semiconductor shortage has shortened the vehicle supply, so that BMW was able to enforce higher prices for its new and used cars. Vehicles whose leasing contract had expired also bolstered the balance sheet with higher residual values.

Because of the missing chips, sales in the third quarter fell by twelve percent to 593,000 vehicles of the brands BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce. In normal times, that would probably have resulted in a sharp drop in sales. But at BMW, sales rose by almost five percent to 27.5 billion euros. Apparently, expensive luxury sedans were preferred when BMW had to choose between an inexpensive entry-level 1-series or an expensive, high-margin 7-series BMW in terms of production.

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