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Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Car sales dip in September — thank the global chip shortage

Passenger car sales dipped slightly in September, falling more than 2% y-o-y from the same month last year, according to industry figures released yesterday. Data from the Automotive Information Council (AMIC) showed that local distributors moved 16.6k passenger vehicles during the month, down from 17,051 last year and 18.3k units in August.

The global chip shortage is biting: A top exec at one of the country’s largest distributors tells us it is “day to day” when it comes to availability of many models — and thinks it is unlikely that supply of most brands will improve significantly before mid-2022 or later. The culprit remains shortages of the chips used in modern vehicles. Distributors are also facing pressure on pricing from rising freight costs as part of the Great Global Supply Chain Snarl — and will need to pass those on to consumers. The execs comments line up with what we’re heading from a number of would-be car buyers, who have cash in hand, but cannot find a model they would consider buying.

This is a global trend: Jaguar Land Rover said yesterday it is the latest victim of the chip shortage, reporting a GBP 302 mn 3Q pre-tax loss as the shortage in semiconductors hit sales. Other industry heavyweights including General Motors, Ford, and Volkswagen have all cited the chip shortage as they reported lower bottom lines in for 3Q.

Sales of buses had a weak month, trucks up: Less than 2k buses were sold in September, down almost 20% y-o-y from 2.5k last year, but up slightly from 1.9k in August. Truck sales were up almost 23% y-o-y to 4.1k.

Total vehicle sales fell almost 1% y-o-y to 22.7k units, compared to 22.9k in September 2020. The figure also fell on a monthly basis, down 7% from 24.5k in August.

Sales of all types of vehicles had seen a dip in 2Q2020 off the back of a pandemic-induced slowdown. But passenger car sales had recovered by August last year, increasing nearly 50% y-o-y from 10.7k in August 2019.

AMIC data is self-reported by member distributors, who include the majority of (but not all) industry participants.

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