ROUNDUP: Chip shortage depresses VW sales in 2021 – but e-models are clearly in the plus

WOLFSBURG (dpa-AFX) – The chip crisis and other supply problems have caused Volkswagen (Volkswagen (VW) vz) sales to slip noticeably again in the second Corona year 2021. As the company announced on Wednesday, deliveries of the core brand VW (Volkswagen (VW) vz) passenger cars fell by 8.1 percent. The group as a whole also went down again (minus 4.5 percent). The Wolfsburg-based company got rid of just under 4.9 million vehicles from their main division, and around 8.9 million across the group.

Compared with 2020, which was already weak due to the pandemic, stabilization was achieved, at that time business had slumped by a good 15 percent. Most recently, there have been difficulties in China, while North America performed better in the sales statistics.

In the meantime, a lack of microchips and sometimes scarce and expensive raw materials are the biggest problem in the industry. Many cars cannot be completed in the usual time – if the order books are well filled at the same time. “The massive semiconductor-related effects on production could not be fully compensated for over the course of the year,” said VW sales director Klaus Zellmer. In view of these “extremely challenging conditions”, the overall performance is still satisfactory.

Things went much better if only hybrid and electric cars were taken into account instead of all types of drive. VW Passenger Cars then saw a high increase in deliveries of 73 percent to over 369,000 units sold in 2021 compared to 2020. These included 263,000 pure electric vehicles – this almost doubled, and plug-in hybrids increased by a third. In relation to the group as a whole, around 96 percent more fully electric vehicles (BEV) were sold, in total there were around 453,000 units in this category.

In the particularly important and largest car market of China, however, Volkswagen also struggled. There the shortage of chips worsened, among other things because of new restrictions at Asian suppliers. One consequence: The group’s sales plummeted by around 14 percent, with the core brand even by almost 15 percent. “It was a pretty difficult year,” said the outgoing VW regional boss Stephan Wöllenstein. The group’s market share in China, which had long been 14 or 15 percent, fell to 11 percent. With the BEV models, however, the group also achieved clear growth here.

It is uncertain whether larger increases will be possible in the People’s Republic again in 2022. According to the CAAM industry association, total sales by all manufacturers to retailers rose slightly by 3.8 percent in 2021.

In North America with the USA, VW was able to make up ground last year, despite a setback in the final quarter. In the end, deliveries were 15.6 percent above the level of 2020, the core brand reported 13 percent. Western Europe performed worse with sales of 2.7 percent in the group and 5.3 percent for VW cars.

The company assumes that the situation will remain “volatile and demanding” at least for the first half of 2022 due to the shortage of chips. Several subsidiaries also posted a drop in sales in the last twelve months. So there was a minus of 12.6 percent at Skoda.

In the case of light commercial vehicles, which will be presenting a key new model in March with the ID.Buzz electric bus, the decline was 3.2 percent. Audi got off lightly with minus 0.7 percent. At Porsche there was even an increase of 10.9 percent. “Last year we planned and controlled the production of our vehicle models in such a way that the supply bottleneck had little impact on our production,” said a Porsche spokeswoman. Seat (plus 10.3 percent) as well as the heavy commercial vehicles from MAN / Scania and the luxury brands Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini held their own against the trend./jap/DP/jha

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