The only thing harder to find than a COVID rapid antigen test in Australia right now is a new car.
In short, demand is up and supply is down. The last twelve months have seen Aussies ditch public transport in favour of private vehicle ownership in order to avoid The Spicy Cough, and the global computer chip shortage – itself a result of the pandemic – has meant fewer new cars have been arrivng on our shores.
Waitlists at dealers and ongoing supply chain issues mean that there’s big delays when it comes to the delivery of new cars, too. That’s before we even start factoring in the economic devastation that COVID has wrought on Australia and the globe…
Yet despite these odds, luxury car brands are reporting record sales figures – both at home and abroad. Brands including Lamborghini, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and Tesla have all recorded record sales years for 2021, with Tesla in particular reporting they sold twice the amount of cars globally in 2021 than they did in 2020. What gives?
There’s a few factors at play here. The first thing to consider is that luxury car brands are better positioned to deal with the computer chip shortage. The profit margins on economy cars are razor-thin, but the margins on luxury cars are far more generous – meaning that luxury brands can afford to absorb the higher cost of computer chips at the moment without signifcantly changing their MSRPs.
Tesla in particular has largely been shielded from the computer chip shortage thanks to its vertically integrated supply chain. It’s a business model that more and more car brands are starting to emulate, as well as a model that’s employed by tech companies like Apple and Sony, who have aspirations about joining the car game.
The second major factor is that Australian consumers, like consumers around the globe, have been spending the money they would have otherwise spent on travel on other luxuries – like new cars – during COVID. If you can’t go to Aspen, you may as well drive an Aston, you see?
Check out the new LC300 Toyota Land Cruiser (one of the hardest to acquire new cars in Australia right now) and its impressive off-road abilities below.
While not every car manufacturer has released their 2021 sales figures, we’d be very surprised if we didn’t see other luxury car brands come out and say they’ve had similarly great 2021s. Hell, we wouldn’t be surprised if some of the more mass-market brands also had great 2021s.
All we hope is that this new car shortage ends soon…