For this first half of 2022, car manufacturers are announcing record financial results. Although new vehicle sales in Europe are down 14% (-12% globally), car brands are smiling. And for a good reason! All indicators are green.
At Stellantis, we saw sales up 17% (€88 billion) for the first half of the year compared to the same period last year. Current operating income increased by 44% with a double-digit margin in almost all world markets.
Optimism is also appropriate on the part of the Renault Group. Sales remained stable at around EUR 21.1 billion (+0.3%), despite a 16% drop in sales. The operating margin increased by 2.6 points in one year. The maker posted an operating margin of 4.7% excluding Russia, with net income from continuing operations of 657 million euros over half. This is thanks to the sale of more expensive and better equipped vehicles with smaller discounts. Especially on the profitable segment C (Arcana, Austral, Mégane). ” From an operational point of view (apart from the cessation of activities in Russia, which weighs on the group’s accounts), these are the best results of the last ten years, marking a turning point in Renault’s recent history. we explain on the Boulogne Billancourt site.
French manufacturers are not the only ones. Volkswagen increased its profit by 5.7% in the first half of the year. The same euphoria in the United States. Ford announces a 19% increase in sales.
End of the semiconductor crisis
Will the semiconductor shortage soon be a thing of the past? The situation improves. Many manufacturers are announcing a return to normal by the end of 2023. Thomas Schäfer, President of the Volkswagen brand, wants to become more optimistic and announces ” for the second half of the year (…) the improvement in the supply situation. »
With the aim of better production and delivery times. Because if Renault claims to be able to deliver an Arkana in thirty days today, the average waiting time for all series together is more than four months.
The semiconductor crisis curtailed vehicle production, which was estimated at 300,000 units at Renault and more than 100,000 units at Ford. In any case, everyone is in the starting blocks. The automotive supplier Forvia, which emerged from the merger of Faurecia and the German Hella, published operating results for the first half of the year that exceeded expectations on Monday. And the orders are coming. A proof of the optimism of the car manufacturers with regard to the revival in sales.
Full order books
Due to the shortage of semiconductors and the partial closure of production units, manufacturers cannot meet demand. At VW, the order backlog, all engine types taken together, amounts to 728,000 vehicles for Europe alone, including around 139,000 ID.s 100% electric. However, in the first half of 2022, the German brand was only able to deliver 488,468 vehicles. The group is working to further reduce delivery times for customers and to process a larger part of the large order book as quickly as possible. Ditto at Renault or Stellantis, where orders are going well. Tariffs will be increased gradually. But at the moment impossible to deliver faster.
Additional costs for raw materials
Even if the accelerated march towards electronics and the semiconductor crisis appear to be on the way to being resolved, the increase in raw material costs remains the main concern facing automakers.
Over a year (January 2021-2022), the lithium price has increased by 13% since the beginning of 2022. The price of nickel is up nearly 60% since 2020. During the same period, the price of copper is up 27% and palladium is up 30%. As for rubber, its increase has reached 16% in the last year. Not to mention the rising energy prices. Consequence: The production costs of an electric vehicle have increased by 4,500 euros compared to 2020. This puts a strain on the device manufacturers in particular, but also on the manufacturers themselves. At Renault, for example, the impact is estimated at 797 million euros. After manufacturers increase the selling prices of their cars to improve their margins, manufacturers cannot fully pass on this inflation. In the last three years, the price of new vehicles has increased by 20%. And it seems very difficult to make the customer bear the full sum of the current and future increases. Because if production volumes recover, commodity prices will continue to rise. Some brands are therefore playing it safe for the future.
GM Chair Mary Marra is not hiding her concerns to the economic situation ” to the point ” for also modeling numerous slowdown scenarios. “The same story at Volkswagen. ” We expect the impact of commodity and energy prices to be significantly stronger in the second half of 2022 than in the first half says Alexander Seitz, CFO of Volkswagen.
Despite rising raw material and energy prices, builders are revising their outlook upwards. ” We are confident that we can more than compensate for these price increases and continue our positive trend. We are therefore raising our outlook if the supply situation develops as expected. For 2022 as a whole, we are now aiming for an operating return on sales before special items of 4-5% “, assures the VW CFO. Renault is also revising its financial outlook for 2022 upwards. Like almost all manufacturers. We’re talking about a car crisis! What crisis?