Car buyers face long waiting times for new cars | Industry - Car News Sep 2021

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12:15 Thursday 09 Sep 2021

Covid-related supply problems continue to blight new car deliveries, with registrations slumping to an eight-year low in August.

Industry figures from the  Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT) show 68,033 new cars were registered in August 2021, a figure that's down by 22 per cent on the same month in 2019 and the weakest performance in August since 2013.

Car buyers are facing long delays for new vehicles, which is stalling the supply to dealers. A global shortage of semi-conductors is being blamed for the supply chain problem and experts fear it could be until 2014 before the issue is fully resolved. 

Karen Hilton, Chief Commercial Officer at heycar, says: “The global semi-conductor shortage continues to severely hamstring new car production - with registrations down by 22% year on year.

“Our own industry research indicates that manufacturers fear it could take until 2024 for global supply to fully meet demand - which is prompting them to take unprecedented action in a bid to reduce spiralling lead times, of up to six months for some of the UK’s most popular models.

There was some positive news for the industry, with electric cars sales continuing their upward trajectory. Demand for new electric cars was up 32 per cent in August, compared to the same month in 2020. This means electric cars accounted for 10.9 per cent of the new car market in August, while petrol and diesel took for a respective 43.3 per cent and 7.5 per cent. 

Plug-in hybrid and 'self-charging' hybrid cars accounted for 19.2 per cent of the market, while mild hybrid petrol and diesel cars completed the remaining share of 19.1 per cent.

With a global shortage of semiconductors predicted to continue for the foreseeable future, heycar's Karen Hilton believes carmakers will adapt their line-ups to cater for the shortfall in components. 

“The result will be the biggest wholesale transformation in car production in decades - inspired by the tech giants of Silicon Valley," says Hilton.

“To streamline manufacturing - they long ago abandoned offering customers the ability to customise products in anything other than the most minor way. And so will it be with cars. Gone will be the ability to endlessly modify a vehicle down to the tiniest bespoke detail. In its place will be models and trims with specs that are fixed and a reduced number of options to add on top.” 

“Ultimately car-buyers will still get a product that delights them - but one, crucially that can be produced much more quickly. 

“It’s a paradigm shift and comes as some manufacturers are even considering a return to analogue dials as a way to spare precious semiconductors for other uses."

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