The accounting update on the shortage of semiconductors is dramatic: from 3.9 to 7.7 million fewer cars produced during the year and from 91 to 179 billion euros in lost turnover. The consultancy firm Alix Partner, which had released the first estimates in May, has just revised them, decidedly upwards
In reality, at least according to the analysis of another company, Ernst & Young, the difficulties in obtaining microchips did not penalize the manufacturers’ margins. Certainly not the top 16 in the world rankings who reported profits totaling 71.5 billion. A record figure, not only when compared to the 4.1 billion in the January-June 2020 period, only partially marked by the pandemic. Houses focused on margins and continued to benefit from the support policies launched by the various governments by reducing part of the costs. In the first half of this year, also drawing on “warehouses”, 33.5 million vehicles were marketed globally with a decrease of 11% compared to the first half of 2019. And yet the overall turnover ( 809 billion euros) was just 2% lower.
Now that stocks are out, customers are having to expect significantly longer wait times. Several dealerships no longer even have models to showcase and even the traditional tank of vehicles linked to rental is practically dry, as demonstrated by the very high prices paid by those who booked a car at the last moment during the summer. Production has been slowed down and repeatedly suspended, practically in every part of the planet, even by manufacturers that initially seemed to have managed the situation in the best possible way, such as BMW. In the first six months Volkswagen is 21% below forecasted production levels, Ford by 18%, Stellantis by 15% and General Motors by 12%. Toyota had formalized a contraction in production of 300,000 units during the current fiscal year, which runs from April to March, a reduction higher, but not far from that of Daimler (-2%).
As regards the estimates of the end of the crisis, opinions seem to differ. In July and at least from the Chinese point of view expressed by the head of local operations Stephan Wöllenstein, Volkswagen began to “see the light at the end of the tunnel”. According to the manager, supplies should return to normal starting from the end of the third quarter. The numbers one of Daimler, Ola Källenius, and of BMW, Oliver Zipse, are less optimistic. Källenius hopes for an improvement in the last quarter, but expects a real easing of tension only in 2023. The problem, which initially seemed linked to the pandemic and accentuated both by the political tensions between Trump’s United States and China and by some quotas (fires in Japan, bad weather in the United States and water shortage in Taiwan) and which has turned out to be structural, will still have an impact “for the next six twelve months”, prophesies Zipse.