The transformation to electric and the shortage of chips make new vehicles more expensive.
With the IPC on a rise as devilish as the walls of the Italian Mortirolo, car prices do not avoid climbing. And they continue to do so: if until March the increase stood at 5.3% in the interannual rate; April has closed with a 6% rise, according to the National Institute of Statistics. But not only the INE notes the rise in the prices of new cars. The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) has warned of an "unprecedented rise" in the prices of new cars with a combustion engine in the last five years: the average increase has been 35%, much higher than general inflation accumulated in this same period, which reached 12.8%. Among its main causes, the penalties of the European Union to car manufacturers for CO2 emissions, the microchip crisis, the inflation of many of the materials and products used in their manufacture.
With regard to emissions, the European Parliament will approve on June 7, except for a last-minute overturn, to shorten the term of the ban on the sale of cars that emit polluting gases into the atmosphere from January 1, 2040 to January 1. January 2035. Less time, more speed and more investment in the transformation towards electricity, which is reflected in the final price of current combustion cars to finance said transition.
Added to this is the microchip crisis. This shortage makes brands put these components in their most profitable cars, that is, the most expensive. In this case, the OCU uses the Dacia Sandero as an example, the cheapest model in the Spanish market. It has gone from costing, including official discounts, 7,035 euros in 2017 to 9,990 euros in 2022, 42% more. However, there is no point of comparison between one car and another. Neither in what is visible, nor in what is hidden, in the case of the platform on which it is built.
In fact, analyzing the prices of the best-selling model of the 15 most important brands in Spain, only two maintain their prices below the accumulated general CPI (12.8%): the BMW X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC.
In this context, the OCU recommends drivers look for models that are on sale or in stock and compare prices: savings can reach 20% on the official price. Another option is to look for electric vehicles or vehicles with hybrid motorization, since in the medium term they end up being cheaper. In addition, in these cases the price increases have been lower: the cheapest non-plug-in hybrid, the Mazda 2 (18,220 euros), costs 18% more than the cheapest model five years ago; the cheapest plug-in hybrid now, the Renault Captur (30,160 euros), costs almost the same as the cheapest model back then; while the most affordable electric, the Dacia Spring (17,905 euros without Moves aid), costs 18% less than the cheapest electric five years ago.
In any case, the OCU urges the European authorities to promote the development of national microchip industries that can guarantee their regular supply and ensure a stable price. At the same time, it asks the Spanish administrations to expand the current network of fast-charging charging stations: favoring the use of electric cars necessarily involves the presence of one every 50 kilometers.
But what the OCU does not say is that the customer has a mess in his head that makes it difficult for him and retracts the decision to buy a car. Should I buy a gas car if they are going to ban it in a few years or a conventional hybrid that also emits? Isn't a diesel better if I make long daily trips in a three-year lease? Is the electric one good for a daily use from Madrid to Santa Cristina de la Polvorosa in Zamora? Faced with this uncertainty and inflationary tensions, many prefer to wait.