The global car market threatens to shrink this year. This is predicted by Ferdinand Dudenhöffer from the Center Automotive Research (CAR) in Duisburg. “Cars have become scarce,” he says. Semiconductors have been missing for months, the lockdowns in China are currently slowing down logistics, and the Ukraine war has also hit companies in Europe.

According to his forecast, sales on the global automotive market in 2022 will fall below the level of the Corona crisis year 2020. He expects that only 67.6 million cars will be sold worldwide – a drop of 5.3 percent compared to the previous year.

Dudenhöffer expects a decline of nine percent in the USA and six percent in Germany. Even in China, sales are likely to fall by 2.1 percent. If this forecast comes true, the automobile market would shrink below the level of 2012. According to CAR, the industry had its sales record in 2017 with 84.4 million newly registered passenger cars.

Dudenhöffer’s forecast is more pessimistic than that of other institutes. The information service IHS Markit, for example, lowered its forecast for the global car market in mid-April, but still assumes growth. BMW boss Oliver Zipse predicted sales at the previous year’s level for his company in 2022 at the annual general meeting.

But he also warned: “The situation in the world remains tense.” Dudenhöffer explains that the supply chains have become full of holes: “And by the time things run smoothly again, we’ll be in 2023.” The lack of cars isn’t just felt in new cars – even used ones are rare.

This has consequences for prices. As early as 2021, manufacturers canceled discounts and phased out inexpensive vehicle variants. Now they have to pass rising commodity prices and the costs of underutilized factories onto fewer vehicles. “Further price increases must be expected in the coming months,” says Dudenhöffer.

The car manufacturers say the same thing: “It cannot be ruled out that further price steps will be necessary,” said Volkswagen Sales Director Hildegard Wortmann this week at the Group’s Annual General Meeting.

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