Want to buy a new car? Get ready for a wait.
The excitement of ordering a new car is being dampened by increasingly long wait times for delivery due to the continuing global auto chip shortage.
Mr. Park, a 54-year-old business owner in Seoul, was left in shock after visiting a Kia store to purchase an electric vehicle (EV).
Park was told that it would be at least 18 months before he could get behind the wheel of an EV6, Kia's crossover SUV, even though he wanted the most-basic version. The dealer told him the wait would be even longer if he wanted a specific color or add-ons like smart keys.
In March this year, the wait time for the EV6 after ordering was 15 months but that had already increased to 18 months as of May 30.
Hyundai Motor’s luxury brand Genesis has a shorter delivery period compared to other Hyundai and Kia cars — which is why Park ended up buying a GV60, Hyundai's electric SUV instead.
But wait times have still increased significantly in recent months. Customers must wait 11 months for the delivery of their GV80s, Hyundai's mid-size electric SUV, two months longer than in March.
It takes about a year to get both Hyundai's Ioniq 5 EV and its Porter EV mini truck.
EVs are not the only vehicles being hit with delays. Customers must wait six months to get their hands on Hyundai's G80 sedan, compared to three months in March.
“Chip maker Taiwan’s TSMC is in the process of expanding their factory capacity, but it needs at least three years for that to help the current situation,” Kim Pil-soo, an automotive engineering professor at Daelim University. “It is steadily getting better, but it needs another three or four years for the shortage problem to be completely resolved.”
Experts say the growing demand for EVs is another big reason behind the delays.
EVs need twice as many chips as combustion engine cars, according to German chip manufacturer Infineon.
Cars are becoming more high-tech, and more chips are needed to make a vehicle. Chips control many functions in cars including those used in autonomous driving, parking assist and airbag deployment. Chips are used in at least 20 functions in a vehicle, according to Infineon.
“In order to add an advanced driving assist system in a car, it needs around $160 to $180 worth of chips,” said Lee Jae-il, a researcher at Eugene Investment. “But in the case of the high-end features like an autonomous driving system, it needs about $1,150 to $1,250 worth of chips.”
The situation is no different in imported car brands.
People must wait at least one year to get a Chevrolet Bolt EV, according to GM Korea.
Renault Korea Motors’ XM3 small-size SUV takes three months to be delivered, a two month increase compared to March. The company's QM6 mid-size SUV also comes with a wait time of three months.
Renault Korea Motors is known to be the car maker with one of the shortest delivery periods.
“We look forward to normalization to come by July,” said a spokesperson for Renault Korea Motors.
BY MOON HEE-CHUL, SARAH CHEA [email@example.com]