VW sells electric cars in Europe and the US.

Volkswagen, the world’s second-largest electric vehicle maker by volume, has “exhausted” battery-powered models in the US and Europe for this year as persistent supply chain bottlenecks affect world production.

The Wolfsburg-based group, which includes brands such as Porsche, Audi and Škoda, sold more than 99,000 electric models worldwide in the first three months of 2022 due to shortages of Ukrainian-made semiconductors and wiring harnesses.

Market leader Tesla delivered more than three times that figure in the same quarter.

However, VW boss Herbert Diess said that as demand remained strong, the company had a Western European order backlog of 300,000 electric cars. He added that customers now ordering from Europe and the US will not receive their electric models before 2023.

“We have a very high order book and … electric vehicle order intake,” Diess added. “That represents all our models from ID.3, ID.4, the Audi models – [all] they are extremely well received in the markets, the Škoda models are also very well received in Europe.”

He said: “We are basically out of electric vehicles in Europe and in the US. And in China, it’s really picking up.”

VW is targeting a total of about 700,000 electric vehicle sales by 2022 as a whole, as it tries to catch up with Tesla. However, production has been hampered, particularly in VW’s biggest market, China, where it sold just 28,800 electric cars in the first quarter amid coronavirus lockdowns.

While that sales figure is four times higher than during the same period last year, it complicates VW’s goal of selling at least 140,000 electric cars in China by 2022. The automaker missed its electric sales targets in the country on last year.

Reduced forecasts

Overall auto industry sales forecasts for the year have been lowered in recent weeks as the global economy continues to suffer from rising commodity prices and the war in Ukraine.

Europe’s largest car supplier Bosch said on Wednesday that its earlier estimate of 88 million cars sold in 2022 “will likely not be met” due to “the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic in China and the ongoing shortage of chips”.

VW warned that there was “a continuing risk” that the war and closures in China would “have a negative impact on … business activities in the current year.”

However, Chief Financial Officer Arno Antlitz said he was confident VW’s electric business would pick up speed. “From where we are now, we anticipate a steadily growing volume and share of battery electric vehicles in each quarter of 2022.” – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022

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