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Buying a new car: long delivery times and small discounts

New cars are becoming scarce on the market. Delivery times are increasing and demand is higher than supply, which has a negative impact on the discount structure - at least for models with combustion engines. Which cars are still cheap and available with a short delivery time?

For months, the shortage economy has been causing new negative records. In a study by the ifo Institute in December 2021, 81.9 percent of companies were already complaining about bottlenecks and problems in the procurement of preliminary products and raw materials. "The situation in industry is paradoxical," sums up Klaus Wohlrabe, head of the ifo surveys. "The order books are full. However, the lack of material does not allow the companies to ramp up their production accordingly." The automotive industry is particularly affected with 93 percent.

Delivery bottlenecks continue

Above all, the lack of semiconductors is spreading more and more like a conflagration in the vehicle industry. Without the small components not much runs in the car. They are the main component of microchips, which are mainly hidden in control units. "The discrepancy between supply and demand for semiconductors is increasing. There is no sign of an improvement in the near future," says Sven Siepen, partner at the management consultancy Roland Berger.

This means that customers also have to live longer with the effects. A look at the current delivery time situation confirms this. For weeks, the waiting periods have only been going in one direction: upwards. "Depending on the brand and model, the delivery times are currently between six and twelve months, sometimes even longer," says Thomas Peckruhn, Vice President of the Central Association of the German Motor Trade (ZDK). "Not much will change at first."

Demand over supply

Only a few models are available at short notice. As an analysis shows, out of 30 popular cars with combustion engines, none can be delivered within three months. On average, customers are currently waiting between six and seven months for their new car - the emphasis is on "on average", because anyone who chooses a particularly popular model has to be patient for almost a year and a half.

What is reminiscent of an emergency has a system. With the controlled scarcity economy, the industry is trying to keep the damage caused by the semiconductor crisis as small as possible. Philipp Sayler von Amende is convinced that the car brands make a pre-selection as to which models the chips will be installed in: "In the chip crisis, the manufacturers prioritize vehicles with electric drives. The chips that are supplied are assigned to them, and this prioritization is stay that way," says the boss of the online new car exchange carwow.de.

Discounts are falling right now

Good offers are therefore harder to find - a situation that has never existed in recent history.Whenever the market was not running smoothly in the past, the discount injection helped. For years, this type of doping has led to success. But that was back in the days when supply outstripped demand. They're over now. "If - as is currently the case - demand exceeds supply, falling prices can hardly be expected," says ZDK Vice Peckruhn, "these are normal market mechanisms."

Within twelve months, the willingness to discount slipped by an average of four percent in retail, according to an auto motor und sport sample. Instead of 21, there is an average discount of only 17 percent - mind you, for vehicles with combustion engines.


Anyone looking for a new car with a combustion engine not only has to accept long delivery times, but also worse offers. But there can be another way: if you don't necessarily want a vehicle to be ordered, but a vehicle in stock, a car with one-day registration or a demonstration vehicle is sufficient, then the chances are good. However, you should be flexible when it comes to the color of the car, the engine, the equipment, even the choice of model. Something like this can no longer be changed with existing vehicles.


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