The best-selling electric model in Europe and France last year is already out of stock in France. Finally, Tesla is not immune to the production difficulties experienced by its competitors. The shortage of semiconductors continues to weigh on an automotive industry faced with the conversion to electricity.
Braking for Tesla
Until then, Tesla was doing well. Since the start of the year, automakers have struggled in terms of sales and production levels. Last month, data provided by the Automotive Industry Platform (PFA) showed unflattering results: -19.60% sales for Stellantis (compared to February 2021), -11.5% for Renault-12.60% for Volkswagen, -19.60% for Toyota, -21% for Toyota…
Figures at half mast compared to an already uncomplicated year 2021 for the automotive industry. In this slump, only the manufacturer Tesla seems to maintain its growth, with an increase in sales of more than… 200% in February.
Particularly popular, it is above all the American manufacturer’s Model 3 which is driving registrations upwards: last year it was the best-selling electric model in Europe (and in France). With more than 13,000 sales in France, it exceeds Renault’s Zoé and the Peugeot-208.
Only, victim of its own success, the Model 3 is no longer no longer available in France. Tesla announced it a few days ago: deliveries will not resume until a year from now, in February 2023, due to a lack of stock.
In detail, the out of stock currently only concerns the Model 3 “classic”the price of which will also increase by 1,200 euros, to €44,990. The other versions “Great autonomy” (from 55,990 euros) and ” Performance “ (59,990 euros) should be delivered before the end of the year.
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The difficulty of post-Covid recovery
Tesla therefore risks not being able to convert all its success into sales this year. Like other manufacturers, the electrical specialist is also still affected by the economic consequences of Covid-19, and in particular the shortage of semiconductors.
This electrical component, very present in Tesla cars (technologically very advanced), continues to reach the assembly lines with difficulty. According to the firm AlixParteners, the shortage would have prevented the production of nearly 8 million vehicles last year.
Above all, while the supply of chips is shrinking, demand is exploding. Electric and hybrid cars are much more equipped than their predecessors, which also makes the French car fleet more and more expensive to insure. According to Roland Berger, the supply of semiconductors should only increase by 6% this year, while demand will increase at the same time by 17%.
To cope, chip factory openings (fabs) are planned, notably in Germany, by the American Intel. But several exercises will have to pass before the progression is at the desired level.
A craft builder?
Another more structural problem encountered by Tesla: own production limits. The Californian manufacturer is still far from having the capacities of a giant capable of supplying a world market. Faced with major global groups, its production remains almost “artisanal” : 370,000 vehicles delivered in 2019, compared to nearly 11 million for Volkswagen or Toyota.
Finally, the production of Tesla cars also depends on another essential component: the battery. For the time being, in this highly concentrated market in Southeast Asia, the Japanese Panasonic is helping to design Tesla batteries, which are produced mainly in Nevada. European projects for the development of battery factories should also be of great help in increasing the number of “automotive batteries” intended for manufacturers in the years to come.
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