Germán Coronel arrived a few weeks ago at a dealership in Huelva determined to get rid of the car inherited from his parents. This 25-year-old wanted to purchase his first new vehicle and had a volkswagen model, but when he arrived he found that they no longer manufactured it. “The rest of the brand’s models did not fit into my budget. The option that convinced me the most was a Toyota.” Last Thursday, after two weeks of waiting, the keys arrived.
Thus, Germán’s car is one of the 73,378 registrations registered last julio, which have been the lowest number for a decade. The data, published by associations of dealers (Faconauto), sellers (Ganvam) and manufacturers (Anfac), show a decrease of 12.5% compared to 2021. This drop in sales is due, in large part, to problems of manufacturing that are slowing down the acquisition of the brand new product, according to the experts.
The speed of delivery depends on the location of the company, explains Carlos Bustillo, president of the Madrid Association of Automobile Distributors (AMDA): “Asian companies like Toyota have fewer raw material problems, they take three months at most. On the other hand, the European ones like Volkswagen arrive until the year of waiting”.
The reason? “There is a huge lack of microchips and their main suppliers are China and South Korea. In the end, they prioritize the brands they represent”, continues the president of AMDA. In short, in Europe it takes longer due to the need to import these devices.
The other fundamental point was the pandemic. As explained in Anfac, the situation began at the end of 2020 as a result of the temporary closure of the factories, which caused the stock to run out. “To this situation we must add the causes derived from the war in Ukraine, which have delayed the delivery of cables, nickel, palladium, among others; and that have produced an increase in energy costs”.
Bustillo perceives the difficulties that the sector is going through, since Madrid is the heart of almost half of the sales, with 42.4% in July. In fact, the results up to that month are negative; 206,179 units were sold, 15% less than in 2021. “Buyers are getting desperate and leaning towards availability. The customer loses interest and the impulse buying factor also disappears, ”he says.
These results are even more unfavorable due to the time of year in which they occur. Faconauto’s Director of Communications, Raúl Morales, expressed it last Monday when the numbers were presented: “July was one of the best months for the automobile because families scheduled the purchase of their new car before the holidays and rental companies reinforced their fleets for the summer campaign”. This year has not been the case, sales to car rental firms also fell, which bought 11,013 units last month, 38.9% less. Only sales to companies grew by 2.7%, reaching 31,035 units.
Bustillo predicts that the light will arrive after a long tunnel, at the end of 2023 or in the first half of 2024. For the manufacturers’ association, the forecasts are more optimistic: they estimate that the supply of microchips will improve in the next six months of the year and indicate that can favor the response of orders from the points of sale of vehicles. They even remember that there has been “a slight increase in production last June.” “In any case, it is necessary to be aware of the economic context, since it will be an important factor in the purchasing power of buyers,” they conclude.
Meanwhile, the star model so far this year has been the Hyundai Tucson with 13,986 units sold. Juan Jose Martínez, spokesman for the company, explains that stocks of this vehicle have been maintained despite the difficulties. “We have emerged stronger from the pandemic and the supply crisis. In terms of sales, we have increased compared to last year”, he assures.
His first bet has been planning. They have practically not stopped manufacturing in the months of confinement and, although they do not have all the products, they have strengthened the most demanded ones, such as light hybrids.
In addition, they have redistributed their material. “We have removed some microchips from some vehicles to use them for others,” she describes. This is the case of the Hyundai i20, which was renamed SLX. “It was practically the same, except for a camera that was on the front, which was removed.” This meant a reduction of 700 euros from its original price, and the possibility of relocating those semiconductors.
Antiquity. “Until July, almost the same units of passenger cars over 15 years old have been sold as new vehicles.” It was expressed by the director of Communication and Marketing of Anfac, Félix García. From the organization they emphasize that the situation does not favor decarbonization or road safety.
Confusion. The increase in the purchase of second-hand cars is excessive, according to Carlos Bustillo, president of the AMDA: “The customer is very confused and finds it difficult to understand what alternative to buy, whether diesel, gasoline, the electric or hybrid option.” For the spokesperson of the association, the solution that is usually adopted is to spend the minimum. “They buy a used car that goes against the European directive to bet on the least polluting. We maintain the car as much as possible, which is why our market is one of those that takes the longest to change vehicles”.
electrical. sales of electric vehicles in Spain they increased by 30.87% in the month of July, 2,620 units registered. In addition, they grew by 49.64% so far this year, with 19,361 units in total. However, the general director of Anfac, José López-Tafall, warns that to date, the rate of entry is “very slow”. For this reason, he assures that, if this rate is maintained, achieving the objective set this year of reaching 120,000 electrified cars will be “difficult”.