New Car Backlog Means Less Choice

Mon 18th Jul 2022

The prospect of purchasing a nearly new car has been made all the more appealing after it was revealed that Europe’s biggest manufacturers are reducing choice to beat the long waiting lists for brand new cars.

Big brand names such as Volvo, Ford and Volkswagen have all closed the order books on some of their most popular models as the fall-out from the global pandemic and recent war in Ukraine seriously hits manufacturing.

New analysis has now revealed that the car industry has taken the decision to reduce options on colours and trim levels in order to beat the backlog. The innovative approach has helped Renault see the company’s Arkana delivered in less than 30 days, against an average wait of five months. The ‘Fast Track’ offer limits choice to just three colours, rather than the usual six, and only the RS Line available as the trim, and there is also only one choice of engine.

The decision to limit choice is being seen as something as a gamble by industry analysts, with most brands offering a wide range of choice, the consumer has been king, but now brands are worried that they could cripple sales if they limit to the wrong colours.

“The automotive industry is experiencing a real paradox: on the one hand, it wants to produce on demand rather than 'pushing metal,' but reduced product diversity makes it easier for customers to find the models they want in stock," said S&P Global Mobility analyst Denis Schemoul.

“The reduction in diversity benefits everyone. And everyone will follow, even the Germans."

That statement is backed up by the fact that VW announced earlier this year that they would limit options on the electric ID3, and elsewhere Dacia have taken a similar track.

“By guiding customers to two engines and a single finish, there is no longer an embarrassment of choice ... and thanks to this, from an industrial point of view, it is much easier to program, to schedule," said Dacia logistics and distribution director Dimitri Manoussis.

"If we reduce product diversity, we make a lot of things more fluid."