The car in front brakes out of nowhere, the driver behind would have no chance to react fast enough, but the intelligent driving aid would: In a flash, the built-in sensors give the command to the braking aid and decelerate the vehicle. This is just one of many examples of how semi-autonomous driving can save lives. The reason for this is intelligent systems whose functions are based on tiny microchips. And the main component of these microchips – which, among other things, are also responsible for the drive, the driving behavior and even for triggering the airbag – are intelligent semiconductors. In short, the price of modern progress is dependence on technology and the components it requires. And it is precisely this dependence that has led to current waiting times for a new car ranging from four months to more than a year.
One crisis, many reasons
At the onset of the pandemic, demand for vehicles dropped significantly, causing car production to ramp down. As in any supply chain, this had consequences on many sides. Among other things, semiconductor manufacturers had to look for new customers, but thanks to the advance of digitalization, this was no longer difficult. Then, when the automotive market recovered and car manufacturing was running at full speed, the supply of the precious components could no longer meet demand. Other effects such as geopolitical tensions, shortages of raw materials or the simple fact that semiconductors have an expiry date also contributed. Finally, the long list of reasons for supply bottlenecks was joined by several corona-related lockdowns of production facilities and the tense situation in the transport sector. All this led to the current situation: a global semiconductor crisis.
Effects in many industries
The consequences are manifold: prospective buyers of new cars, for example, currently have to be patient, because once the vehicle has been selected and ordered, it can take up to a year for delivery. Depending on the brand, even longer. As long as the microchips are not available, the vehicles cannot be built. Even if some manufacturers come up with creative solutions to counter this, they always entail additional expense. For example, an old radio is installed in almost finished vehicles and the vehicle is delivered. As soon as the digital radio is available, the car goes back into production and receives the “upgrade.” But even this methodology is not a viable path in the long run. And it’s not just in the automotive sector that there is a shortage, because in today’s digitized world, hardly any device can do without microchips. From laptops to microwaves, semiconductors are essential to manufacturing. And precisely because the tiny electronic components remain in such high demand, there is currently no end in sight to the crisis. But what now?
Ongoing crisis, new directions
From family to business, many people depend on mobility and can’t wait up to a year for their car. So how do you bridge the delivery period? Just keep driving the old car and hope it lasts? Extend the current lease? In both cases, the additional depreciation of the vehicle should not be underestimated, this is on average 10% per year. Or you can do without a new car altogether, switch to a second-hand vehicle and then have to make some sacrifices. But depending on your mobility needs, this is not the ideal solution either. For this reason, we have designed our range of vehicles in such a way that they are all available within 10-15 days “ready for the road” – i.e. including insurance, registration, paid taxes and vignette. And if you want to shorten the waiting time with a little adventure, don’t just try a subscription, try a new drive right away.
Fast availability, flexible terms and an all-round package – all this really makes a car subscription a practical way of bridging the waiting period. And we hope that we can add to the anticipation of many future drivers of a new car.