Four months of waiting for some models, almost a year for others. The global shortage of semiconductors has brought production lines to a standstill. Regional dealers are trying to adapt.
Ordering a new car today gives you almost enough time to build a house before delivery… We’re not exaggerating because deadlines keep getting longer.
At issue is the global shortage of semiconductors and electronic components that forces manufacturers to slow down their production and deliver in dribs and drabs. The average waiting time in France to receive your vehicle was four months before the health crisis. It is now approximately 160 days from the date of signature, more than five months.
Up to 14 months of standby depending on the models
An average that can easily increase depending on the brand, model and desired options (see infographic on the side). 12 to 14 months for an Audi, 9 months for a BMW. Even the Dacia Sandero, France’s best-selling vehicle in 2021, has a four-month waiting period.
“In normal times, we had an available fleet of 300 new vehicles. Currently, the manufacturer only works by order”, explains Marine Millot, marketing manager at the Grands Garages du Gard, Peugeot and Opel dealership in Nîmes. “We have to wait until September to receive an electric 208, February 2023 for a 308 hybrid or a Corsa. And yet we are not worse off.”
In fact, each brand gives priority to certain models over part of the range. Consequence: when running 300 vehicles delivered and paid for per month, the dealership saw this flow almost halved.
Leads are getting longer for electric and hybrid vehicles
On the side of the regional branch of Mobilians, the automotive distribution and services union, we can only notice the disruption of the entire production chain: “Korean manufacturers should be less impacted because they have their own semiconductor factories, but as they face greater demand, their lead times are also getting longer.”
The search for electric or hybrid vehicles is also “has increased significantly since the beginning of the war in Ukraine and the fuel crisis”observes Marine Millot, who considerably lengthens the deadlines – from seven to eight months – for this type of model and for bioethanol engines, which are also in high demand.
“Dealers have to keep some demo vehicles in their lobby that they can’t sell and people don’t understand that.explains Michel Anduze, communication manager at Mobilians. The client must adapt, sometimes accepting a color that was not wanted at the beginning.”
No improvement before spring 2023
In this context, many buyers are turning to the second-hand market, where prices are rising. Dealers took the opportunity to sell their inventories of low-mileage cars. “But with few new purchases, the second-hand fleet doesn’t renew, it’s the snake biting its tail”regrets Michel Anduze who, however, does not see any immediate threat to employment: “There are fears, especially for trading positions, but I haven’t heard of partial activity.”
Another consequence, cancellations of car fairs, like the one in Perpignan, due to lack of vehicles to exhibit. “All peripheral businesses, linked to the preparation of new vehicles, are also impacted”, specifies Michel Anduze. According to the most optimistic forecasts, the situation in the semiconductor market will not improve until the first quarter of 2023. Others predict lean days until 2024. Dealers may not have finished eating their black bread.
The second-hand market takes the lead
Unable to obtain a new vehicle within a reasonable time frame, many buyers turned to the second-hand market. Simplicar, which offers the sale of its vehicle in the real estate agency model, thus registered a 30% increase in its activity.
“Many buyers turn to almost new cars, with less than 10,000 km driven with a manufacturer’s warranty and many options, explains Carl Deichtmann (pictured right), manager of Simplicicar Montpellier. Fewer and fewer buyers are willing to lose 30% of the vehicle’s value by driving just 2,000 km.”
This offsetting effect is part of an already upward trend in the used market, which may, however, suffer a setback within a few months, as the sale of private vehicles will also be slowed by the lack of new vehicles.
“Maybe we’ll feel that in a year or two, but that doesn’t worry us too much because we’re working on vehicles that can last up to 10 years and 150,000 kilometers.”believes Carl Deichtmann.