The consumer in the labyrinth of buying a car: between inflation, the lack of microchips and the obligation not to pollute

"I'm not going to lie to you, at least before a year you won't have the car." A neighbor from Toledo found this response from the commercial in a dealership, just after crossing the threshold of the establishment and without talking about the model or prices.

“I knew there were long deadlines, I thought I could have a car in two or three months, but when consulting several brands they have given me delivery dates between six months and a year. For not having, there is not even kilometer zero”. Juan, the fictitious name of this user who has preferred to remain anonymous, has had to face "due to work and personal necessity" the dilemma of changing his vehicle and he does so at a time of 'perfect storm'.

On the one hand, there is inflation and a lack of raw materials that is slowing down manufacturing (and also breakdown repairs). And on the other hand, there is the still uncertain moment of ecological transition in mobility that has begun to establish the so-called Low Emission Zones (ZBE) in cities, which cannot be entered (in Madrid or Barcelona, ​​in fact, it is already impossible). if you do not have a non-polluting vehicle. What to buy and how to pay for it with exorbitant prices and with an industry unable to meet demand due to lack of microchips? And what to do without a non-polluting vehicle to access certain cities?

“I was looking for a vehicle with the Eco label, but it is not easy to choose,” explains Juan, who maintains that “electric vehicles still do not have much autonomy. I think that in the best case you can do about 200 kilometers without stopping. There is also not enough infrastructure for charging. And then the prices are exorbitant. Not even with the help of the Government, ”he laments.

This user was looking for a vehicle for long trips. “For me, diesels are ideal, but they have been demonized even though they emit less CO2 than regular petrol, so I ruled out the possibility. I have ended up buying a gasoline car.”

"Today it is unfeasible to think about buying a car that you will be able to have next month," explains the delegate in Castilla-La Mancha of the Organization and Consumers and Users (OCU). Itziar Fernández also recalls that “in addition, there are problems to repair them and many complaints are coming in, but the fact is that the workshops tell us that they cannot do anything if there are no parts. The problems of shortages are generalized”.

It is a situation confirmed by the president of the Association of Workshops and Dealers of Castilla-La Mancha, Mª Ángeles Martínez. Last year, the manufacturers' forecasts said that the second half of the year would be easier, but the war in Ukraine has complicated it," he says, referring to the country from which most of the lithium needed for the batteries of electric cars and motorcycles comes. the hybrids. So the 'transition' has been complicated. "In this 2022 they thought of giving a boost to the use of this type of vehicle and now they are very late."

In general, he speaks of delivery times for new vehicles between four months and one year. "And the zero kilometer ones are almost non-existent because they are out of stock on the platforms where we used to supply ourselves and they are also now more expensive."

María Ángeles Martínez explains that "there are no signs of a solution" in the short term. “The volume of registrations in Spain is going to stay at 800,000 again. And we have been like this since before the pandemic. It happened during the crisis in 2008 and we cannot speak of stability because for that the registration of new cars would have to reach 1 ,25 million". In Castilla-La Mancha the drop in figures is around 12% so far this year. "People now have a lot of uncertainty. Not only economic. There are also doubts... Whether electric, whether hybrid. Many endure waiting three or four years for the change. Others get by with a used car because the technology is going to continue evolving".

The president of the sector in the region recalls that the automotive industry "is an indicator of the state of the economy. In 2008, we were after Construction. And no one is spared from inflation, neither clients nor companies. In my company costs us money every day to put cranes on the street", explains the also president of the Toledo Chamber of Industry and Commerce, which runs a business linked to the motor sector in the capital of Castile-La Mancha.

Juan can buy a car because his economy allows it, but not everyone has the same possibilities. “Consumers also face higher prices when buying a car in an inflationary market. The costs to change the oil, the filters… They are doubling and in the end everything affects the consumer”, regrets the OCU delegate.

Looking ahead to the month of September, the organization announces a comparative study to help the consumer. "What do we buy? Gasoline, hybrid, electric…? It's hard. We know that in the long run the electric car represents savings, but now people are not up for such high expenses when many families do not make ends meet, so many will go second-hand ”, he explains.

And that according to data from the National Association of Vehicle Dealers (ANCOVE), the price of second-hand cars rose last June in Castilla-La Mancha by 8.9% compared to the same month of 2021, with an average of 12,255 euros.

For cars over eight years old, an average of 9,388 euros is being paid in Castilla-La Mancha and that is 12.7% compared to a year ago. "The second-hand market continues to be pressured by the scarcity of passenger cars, which means that dealers have to obtain them at high prices," explains Eric Iglesias, general director of this association.

“They are asking for change, but there is no aid that favors it. We are talking about authentic luxury items, especially in the case of electric cars”. It is an idea that the president of the sector in the region underlines. "Not everyone can have an electric, neither for prices, nor for necessity if it does more than 10,000 kilometers a year. We cannot recommend it."

The OCU Castilla-La Mancha already requested last May more charging stations in car parks and public parking lots. “Most of the public car parks in the region lack recharging points, as required by the regulations, which discourages the use of electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles,” commented this organization at the time, which also asks to “promote” the areas of electric charge between neighboring communities.

"Many people are forcibly changing their car. You can no longer enter Madrid with a ten-year-old car. The fines are tremendous and in a short time it will be applied to all cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants"And not only those, those with more than 20,000 inhabitants and pollution problems will also be affected. It will happen between this year and next 2023 when the low emission zones (ZBE) are launched, with fines if is breached.

The Organization of Consumers and Users also criticizes that, in the face of this situation, “public transport is not being favored either. The consumer is forced to change their life habits. And yes, we have to participate in the change, but the governments have to provide the tools”.

The volume of electrical sales over the total is just over 2%. As for hybrids, that percentage is 4%. "Just as there are aid from the Moves Plan for electricians, which are not going to end up being consumed as it has been happening, it would be advisable for part of it to go to combustion cars, with gasoline or diesel. 80% of people use them. It is the average car", adds María Ángeles Martínez. "45% of those that circulate on the roads are over 13 years old. Many are even 20 years old."

Source link