Volkswagen, the world’s second-largest electric vehicle manufacturer by volume, has “sold out” of battery-powered models in the US and Europe for this year as persistent supply chain bottlenecks hit global production.
The Wolfsburg-based group, which includes brands such as Porsche, Audi, and Škoda, sold more than 99,000 electric models worldwide in the first three months of 2022 as it was hit by a shortage of semiconductors and wiring harnesses made in Ukraine.
Market leader Tesla delivered more than three times that number in the same quarter.
However, VW boss Herbert Diess said that, since demand had remained robust, the company had an order backlog in Western Europe of 300,000 electric cars. He added that customers now placing orders in Europe and the US would not get their electric models delivered before 2023.
“We have very high order books and… order intake on electric vehicles,” Diess added. “That accounts for all of our models from ID.3, ID.4, the Audi models—[all] are extremely well received in the markets, Škoda models are also very well received in Europe.”
He said: “We are basically sold out on electric vehicles in Europe and in the United States. And in China, it’s really picking up.”
VW is targeting a total of roughly 700,000 electric vehicle sales for 2022 as a whole as it attempts to catch up with Tesla. However, production has been hampered, particularly in VW’s largest market, China, where it sold just 28,800 electric cars in the first quarter amid coronavirus lockdowns.
While that sales figure is four times higher than during the same period last year, it complicates VW’s target of selling at least 140,000 electric cars in China in 2022. The manufacturer missed its electric sales targets in the country last year.
The auto industry’s overall sales forecasts for the year have been reduced in recent weeks, as the global economy continues to suffer from rising raw material prices and the war in Ukraine.
Europe’s largest auto supplier, Bosch, said on Wednesday that its previous estimate of 88 million cars being sold in 2022 “probably won’t be met” due to “adverse effects from the coronavirus pandemic in China and the ongoing chip shortages.”
VW warned that there was “a continued risk” that the war and lockdowns in China would “have a negative impact on . . . business activities in the current year.”
However, Chief Financial Officer Arno Antlitz said he remained confident that VW’s electric business would pick up pace. “From where we are now, we anticipate a constantly growing battery electric vehicle volume and share in every quarter of 2022.”
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