W.It is not easy for him to buy a new car at the moment. Waiting times of up to a year have to be accepted if the car is not available in the sales room and special requests are made. This is mainly due to the lack of chips, many cars cannot be produced with all the equipment or are supplied with fewer equipment as an emergency solution. BMW has difficulties equipping new vehicles with head-up displays. The customer is given the choice of either taking the car without the ad or canceling it. Looking around for year-old cars on the used car market only helps to a limited extent. In Germany, more than twice as many cars are sold used as new. The ratio in 2020 was just under three to a good seven million vehicles.
But even the used market has been swept almost empty. This is especially true for young used cars, i.e. cars that are two or three years old at the most. An example: The colleague wanted to buy his daughter a Mini. But instead of the 200 or so vehicles that are usually waiting in the hall for new owners, there are only a good dozen left at the Frankfurt dealer. “It was even worse recently, we ran out of cars, we could have played football here,” says the salesman. That may be an extreme example, but everywhere you can see that the stocks of second-hand cars have decreased. The Hedtke dealership from Weiterstadt (Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover) currently has only 100 used vehicles in stock instead of the usual 200. “Nothing is happening at the moment,” complains co-owner Michael Hedtke.
There are several reasons for the reduced used car market. Initially, a fifth fewer new vehicles were registered in 2020 due to a pandemic and lockdown. They are missing now. Many dealerships, on the other hand, have refrained from working with daily registrations and demonstration vehicles to promote sales due to the good demand for new vehicles. There is also a lack of lease returns, because many customers tacitly extend their contract by up to 90 days, which is possible without great effort, or continue to lease the car with a new contract. Here, too, the reason: There is no new car that can replace the old one.
The market is going crazy, because it doesn’t work without a car
“The market is going crazy,” says DAT spokesman Martin Endlein and draws attention to the fact that the already high value of cars in the pandemic has increased, which is fueling demand. More than 90 percent of both new and used car buyers felt that their mobility was restricted without their vehicle. Their own automobile is indispensable for them.
Endlein can prove the decline in supply with the data from the registration statistics of the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA). The minus in the areas of fleets and company fleets amounts to 12.4 percent (116,326 units), the trade, the so-called own registrations, is negative at 28.5 percent, unanimously the manufacturer registrations, where 88,330 units are missing. The car rental companies put 30.2 percent or 123 760 fewer units on the market. The new registrations from 2020 are compared with 2019.
The fact that cars have always been dear to Germans is also reflected in the prices. Never before has so much money been spent on a used vehicle in Germany as this autumn. The online platform Autoscout24 recently reported that the prices charged had increased by around 3500 euros compared to the previous year, from 20,200 to 23,700 euros. However, these are the required prices. Ultimately, the average used car changes hands for around 15,000 euros, according to the annual DAT report. However, this value has also risen by around 5000 euros in the past ten years. In 2011 it was 9740 euros. Thus the increase amounts to a good 50 percent.
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