When Covid hit in 2020, car factories were shuttered as we went into full lockdown and production fell to virtually nothing. Well, down by 99.7% in April 2020 with just 197 cars completed.
But as Covid lockdowns eased production started to grow again, but the Covid Pandemic wasn’t finished with car makers, and the demand for ‘Chips’ created by a surge in WFH and demand for chip-heavy devices created another nightmare for carmakers, with a severe shortage of Chips now needed to make our computers on four wheels do all the things we now demand.
That shortage of Chips has seen car production stymied, and although car makers are churning out cars they seem to be prioritising low emission and high-margin cars. So if you fancy an expensive ICE car, or a BEV, then you should be okay. But actually, you’re not.
We’ve already reported that Land Rover waiting lists, for most models, are running at up to a year, and if you fancy a bit of Scandinavian Volvo goodness, even directly from Volvo on their subscription scheme, you can be waiting nine months or more.
Away from ‘Premium’ car makers and their high-margin priority builds, even regular BEVs are hard to come by, with the Kia EV6 AWD now with a nine-month waiting list and reports of some versions of the Mustang Mach-E taking up to 16 months. So what to do?
If you have the time, it’s worth calling dealers direct to see if they have anything in stock, although they’re thin on the ground and you’ll have to accept the spec on offer, or you could try car lease companies to see what they’re sitting on.
We did manage to find Tesla Model 3 lease availability in our trawl around promising delivery in March – not bad going for the UK’s second-best-selling car in 2021 – no doubt helped by Tesla’s ability to use its own Chips to get around the global shortage, but a very acceptable wait for what is a very appealing EV.
Of course, you could always give up on the idea of a new car and opt for a secondhand buy instead, but with used car prices skyrocketing in the last year for exactly that reason, you’re going to be in for a shock when the Chip shortage eases and used car prices plummet back to where they were before all this began.
It’s tough being a car buyer at the moment.