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A lack of chips is causing a salty problem

 Published 29th December 2021
Driver Guides  General Guides 

If you're in the process of arranging your next car lease, it may take a little longer than usual to get your new vehicle. Likewise, if your lease is up for renewal soon you might want to start looking a little earlier than anticipated. You may have already heard, but there's a bit of a supply issue in the automotive industry and it's led to a major backlog.

Not that the cars are the issue. The problem is actually computer chips.

Back in that unmentionable year when the world locked itself away, the factories that make semiconductors were forced to stop production. To make matters worse, there was also a significant factory blaze that also contributed to the issue.

Now we're all trying to get moving again pretty much every industry in the world is trying to get its hands on the microchips that run the modern world, and there aren't enough to go around. And as you are no doubt aware, a modern car is essentially a computer on wheels.

The global shortage has forced car makers to halt production lines

Simply car makers can't get the components needed to build stuff. The knock-on effect of that is being felt by anyone trying to order a new car, whether it's a big fleet buyer or the average family. Lead times for new cars are increasing by 6-12 months right across the board, and some manufacturers have even gone so far as to temporarily withdraw certain models from sale just to stop the backorder situation getting even worse.

There are even instances of new customers prepared to accept the fact their brand-new car might be missing a few features when they take delivery.

Apparently, Mercedes is writing to customers to explain that due to the chip shortage some features such as wireless phone charging, automatic boot opening, and augmented sat-nav may be missing from their cars. To date, not one person has cancelled an order because of it.

Obviously this isn't the end of the world. The situation will resolve itself once the semiconductor industry catches up, and there are already massive investments in new factories around the world to increase production. But many manufacturers are still expecting to face supply issues until the end of 2022. They all know the situation will improve gradually over the next 12 months, but until then they will still face some uncertainties in the supply chain.

So, if you are leasing, what do you need to do?

Not a lot really, except be prepared to either compromise, or wait.

That's the choice everyone is facing at the moment. If you are determined to specify your new car exactly how you want it, then your order is going to join the back of an already lengthy queue. If you're prepared to compromise on the exact specification or colour, then you could pick up a car that's already built and sitting in stock waiting to be driven away.

Or you could take advantage and make the move to an EV. Obviously they still require the same microchips, but because of the push to electrification a lot of manufacturers are focusing the supply they do have into producing EVs. If you go electric you might be able to skip the worst of the wait, as well as reducing your running costs.

As we said at the beginning, if you're leasing your car and it's due for renewal in the next 12 months, you might want to bear this in mind. The whole process might take a little longer depending on the microchip situation at the time, and you'll need to factor that into your plans.

If you're unsure, the best thing to do is get in touch so we can discuss your options and figure out the best course of action for your next car lease .

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