The European Electric Car Report Edition 8 – 2021

The global passenger automobile market is being hammered and scarred like a swirling and brutal whirlwind, making 2008's financial catastrophe look like a little tremor. However, instead of the demand-side beating saw after Lehman Brothers, supply-side punches are wounding the market this time. Furthermore, while delivery and production figures are falling faster than the Titanic, profit margins are growing in the opposite direction, maybe strangely.

Reported by Schmidt Automotive Research

While BMW Group is scrambling to update profitability corridors, announcing at the end of September that they expect to reach an EBIT margin of the Automotive Segment of 9.5-10.5% this year (7-9% previously), its W- European delivery numbers, according to ACEA, are on a downward spiral, falling by -19.5% year on year in August and -24.3% year on year in July. So, what have the upbeat CFOs been sipping?

Passenger car makers are having to limit essential semiconductors used in their very modern vehicles since they are only being offered a part of them. They are choosing to fit them to their most profitable models. This is resulting in a higher sales mix for their premium-end models, which is reflected in profit margins. But what does this have to do with EVs’ notoriously poor, if not nonexistent, profit margins? With tough fleet average CO2 emissions targets on the table, automakers are balancing their “carbon books” and increasing PEV sales mixes, with Germany and France both recording new penetration highs in August to compensate for those overweight luxobarges that are as quick to turn heads as they are profits.

Take a look at Volkswagen’s multi-brand MEB dedicated fully-electric production line in Zwickau, where CUPRA’s Born was the most recent model to join the line last month, and the daily production rate trend – presented in an investor relations presentation earlier in September – demonstrates that BEVs were unaffected by the chip shortage. Daily output rates are gradually increasing to the intended 1,500 daily rate. Volkswagen acknowledged earlier this year to this report that their BEV vehicles are not more vulnerable to the shortage than their ICE equivalents. While VW keeps those green wheels moving, you can’t help but notice production line halt headlines from mass-volume models, such as Ford’s Fiesta (regular European top-5 model) factory in Cologne and Stellantis’ Opel Mokka facility in Eisenach.

Source: The European Electric Car Report Edition 8 2021 | Schmidt Automotive Research
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Reported by Schmidt Automotive Research

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