March 25, 2023

Thousands of vehicles have accumulated this Christmas in ports and factories without being able to reach dealers to be sold. The cause, the disappearance of more than 25% of the vehicle carrier trucks that were in 2019 to transport cars in Spain. If in the first months of 2019 there were between 3,400 and 3,500 trucks in Spain for the transport of vehicles, currently there are only about 2,700 left, as explained by the president of the Transportave association, José Manuel Peña, and reported by the Efe agency. The reasons for the disappearance of this type of truck are diverse, although the economic ones will prevail, since they are very expensive vehicles, whose maintenance also costs a lot, and I already have owners, they are paid rates that Peña describes as “derisory”.

Wages that are not enough to buy trucks

A truck with a bodywork, that is, with a tractor unit and bodywork, to transport vehicles, can cost around 240,000 or 250,000 euros, which in some cases is twice as much as other types of trucks, according to Peña, who points out that t elambible is the the cost of their maintenance, as well as the insurance of the goods they transport. Concern about the shortage of vehicles to transport cars has arisen from the recovery of the pace of automobile manufacturing, after the crisis caused by the lack of semiconductors and components abated.

“The work peaks have risen a lot,” explains Peña, who points out that now that vehicle production is recovering, the problem that arises is the difficulty in getting the finished cars that are already designated to the dealers.

Dealer sales suffer

In the last part of the year, bottlenecks in the transport of vehicles from factories or from the ports where they arrive at the points of sale have caused decreases in the number of new vehicle registrations. Thus, in December only 73,927 registrations of passenger cars and SUVs were registered, which represents a drop in sales of 14.1% compared to the same month of the previous year.

This has contributed to closing a bad year for the sector. In all of 2022, 813,396 vehicles were registered, below the 830,000 forecast by employers in the sector in their latest forecasts and very far from the million registrations that were achieved before the pandemic. Logistical problems have also meant that waiting times to receive a new vehicle, although they have been reduced, have not improved as much as was expected after the crisis due to the lack of semiconductors.

Miles of vehicles accumulated in the ports

In various Spanish ports, large numbers of vehicles have accumulated for this reason and, for example, in Santander, on December 20, some 15,000 cars were stored, some even parked in roadsides, because logistics companies cannot carry them due to the lack of trucks

Similar scenes have been experienced in other Spanish ports, where the vast majority of vehicles sold in Spain are received. Only 20% of the cars bought in this country have been made here.

Both manufacturers and dealers and distributors confirmed this week in a joint meeting that in the final stretch of 2022 “the difficulties in transporting vehicles to dealers have caused miles of cars to remain stopped in ports and fields, delaying their deliveries to deliveries ” .

An unattractive sector to work

Added to the scarcity of vehicles available to transport cars ready for sale is the lack of drivers willing to do so, either because workers prefer other professions with better working conditions or because they do not have the necessary training.

Being a driver of this type of vehicle transporter truck requires preparation, since you have to be a specialist in handling vehicles for loading and unloading trucks. In addition, warns Peña, you have to assume costs, if you make a mistake.

According to Peña, the differential case that is obtained with the activity of transporting vehicles has made it no longer interesting for the self-employed and micro-enterprises, who prefer to transport other types of merchandise.

The president of transport says that they had been warning logistics operators and car manufacturers for some time that there would be problems in distributing the vehicles produced to dealers. Creating a short-term solution to increase this type of transport is not easy, according to Peña, who adds that his association is working on a specific school for this type of driver, so that more professionals are available.

However, he points out that the sector must also be made attractive to encourage investment by the self-employed and businessmen and provide “security over time”. In fact, although now, after the semiconductor crisis, there is more work, but a drop in vehicle production, like the one that occurred not so long ago, can again trigger the disappearance of companies due to lack of work

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