Waiting for a new car? Don't hold your breath

Torbay Weekly

March brings the new 22 plate but the market will not return to pre-Covid levels. As Covid rules end and the Prime Minister tells us we must learn to live with it, will new car buyers return in force?

Even if they do, those who hope to take delivery in the month are likely to be disappointed. Their best chance of obtaining a new car for immediate delivery will be as a result of cancelled orders from customers who placed orders but, because of the long delivery times, have made alternative arrangements.

The closure of factories, whether from lockdown or shortages of parts, as well as manpower, has caused a backlog that is likely to take until the end of the year to rectify. The microchip situation is the main parts problem, which still continues, as supply cannot keep up with the demand from a number of different industries, including mobile phones, domestic appliances, computers and computer games.

The growth of electric-powered cars has also caused disruption to motor manufacturers, as they produce new models and set up new manufacturing lines, which, added to more new safety, comfort and operating options, has increased the requirement for more microchips. As the online business has increased during the pandemic, the van market has grown and this is where many of the available microchips have been prioritised.

If you are looking for a new car and have not contacted your local dealer do so, as some brands have more availability than others and, as mentioned, availability from cancellations are possible. The used-vehicle market is still short of stock and prices, although not falling, have stabilised in the first two months of 2022.

For those of you who already have or are ready to move into an electric car, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has called for the Government to appoint a watchdog to oversee electric car charging prices and the availability of charge points.

The growth in electric vehicle sales is outstripping the rollout of charging points and in the last ten years the number of charging points has increased from 1500 to almost 50,000 but has not kept up with the rise in sales.

In larger cities, some Councils are installing chargers in residential areas on the road where parking currently occurs. The new regulator called “Offcharge”, the Office of charging, would monitor the market.

There is a need for more charging points for drivers with no off-road facility and with electricity prices rising, there is concern unreasonable, increases could hold back sales. Petrol and diesel prices have reached record levels and could go higher with the situation in Ukraine. The choices are not easy.