AutosCOVID-19 shakes up automotive industry timelines: Pandemic-induced delays hit 55% of new car launches

COVID-19 shakes up automotive industry timelines: Pandemic-induced delays hit 55% of new car launches

BMW factory in Munich
BMW factory in Munich
Images source: © Getty Images | Leonhard Simon
11:34 AM EST, January 22, 2024

Our world and every aspect of life have been thoroughly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The automotive industry, being a highly contact-dependent and international transport-reliant sector, has been particularly hard hit. We may expect a significant rebound and a return to relative normality around 2023, although it will take even longer for the industry to recover to its pre-pandemic state.

However, it's not just the number of cars sold and produced that's featuring as an issue for manufacturers and for those in the world of automobiles. The drivers of peak sales are usually new releases and proposals, and sadly, these have been experiencing substantial negative altercations in recent years.

A report from PwC Consulting, referenced by the American outlet Motor1, paints a clearer picture. Between 2020 and 2023, approximately 55% of all new vehicles introduced to the market had their unveiling dates pushed back, with 34% of such cases being directly linked to production issues.

This stands in stark contrast to 2018, when only 23% of models reported delays, and a mere 5% of these were attributable to production problems. It's unlikely to raise eyebrows, given the supply chain headaches and stringent health, and safety guidelines impacting workforce availability during the pandemic.

However, these factors weren't the sole cause of the situation. The authors of the report pointed out that transitioning towards electric vehicle production and software-related issues also played significant parts in the delays. Volkswagen Group serves as a prime example, having to postpone several key product debuts due to system abnormalities.

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