German car trade falls sharply due to lack of chips, delivery bottlenecks

Germany’s passenger car exports in the third quarter (Q3) of this year declined 17.2 per cent year-on-year to 23.1 billion euros ($26 billion) due to lack of chips and other delivery bottlenecks, while electric cars recorded strong gains, according to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).

The country’s car imports between July and September dropped 29.8 per cent year-on-year down to 11.2 billion euros, Destatis said on Monday.

The US was Germany’s most important passenger car export market, with vehicles worth a total of 3.2 billion euros sold there in Q3. This was a 12.9 per cent decline year-on-year, Xinhua news agency reported.

In Q3 2021, Germany exported 2.9 billion euros worth of passenger cars to China and two billion euros worth to the UK.

“The lack of chips in the automotive industry and other delivery bottlenecks are the likely reasons for that development,” Destatis noted.

In Q3, German car exports and imports were at their lowest level since the second quarter of 2020, which was particularly impacted by the Covid-19 restrictions.

Pure electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles, on the other hand, recorded strong gains. According to Destatis, 69,800 pure electric vehicles worth 2.9 billion euro were exported by Germany between July and September, a year-on-year increase of 26.9 per cent.

Over the same period, Germany imported 59,700 electric vehicles worth a total of 1.7 billion euros (up 58.4 per cent year-on-year).

Despite scaled-back production and a massive drop in total sales, the operating profit of the world’s 16 largest car companies rose 11.4 per cent year-on-year and reached a new record of 23.1 billion euros in Q3, according to a study published by the consulting firm Ernst & Young (EY) on Monday.

“Manufacturers do not need to offer discounts to sell their vehicles at the moment,” said Constantin Gall, Managing partner and mobility leader at EY for the Europe West region.

“Scarce microchips are installed into high-priced, high-margin vehicles with priority, and demand is significantly higher than supply.”

The total revenues of the companies surveyed, however, declined by 1.6 per cent to 371 billion euros, with half of the companies reporting an increase or decrease in revenues, according to the EY study.

“It is quite possible that we will see even greater impact from the current supply shortages in the fourth quarter,” said Peter Fuss, partner at EY.

The “sharp rise in infection rates in some countries and the tough countermeasures could again lead to major dislocations, further production stoppages and logistics disruptions.” (1 euro $1.13)



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