Why Chevrolet Onix “too good” became a problem to regain the lead – 02/06/2022

Market leader for six years between 2015 and 2020, Chevrolet Onix has been living a new reality for months. But why is the former sales champion unable to regain the top spot and has seen other rivals occupy his space? O UOL Cars talked to analysts, network salespeople and General Motors itself to try to understand the current situation of the compact hatch.

First, it is important to point out that, even outside the leadership, Onix remains in the top 3 in the best seller list this year. With 29,901 units sold in the first five months of 2022, the Chevrolet hatch occupies third place in the year, behind only Fiat Strada and archrival Hyundai HB20 – according to data from Fenabrave.

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In May, the HB20 became the isolated leader, reaching 9,634 units sold in the month, against 6,982 for the third-placed Onix hatch – it was ahead of the veteran Gol by just two units. The Fiat Mobi managed to reach 7,493 sales and appeared in the vice-leader among passenger cars in the month. Here’s an addendum: Onix Plus is doing better in its segment, with 5,647 cars sold in the period against 3,003 for the Hyundai HB20S.

If the numbers are not bad, they are far from the times when Onix was handily leading the market. In 2020, there were 54,036 cars sold in the accumulated until May of that year, compared to 38,978 in the same period in 2021 and 29,901 this year. In the same time window, from January to May 2022, the Hyundai HB20 had 34,897 sales.

Problems in the manufacture and delivery of the Onix, which have already devastated the production of the vehicle in 2021 (when it was almost six months without being made), would be one of the obstacles for the GM hatch to return completely to its glory days.

In a conversation with salespeople from the brand’s dealerships, who preferred not to identify themselves, they said that the delivery of vehicles should suffer new problems. The reason would be another temporary stoppage of production, which is why many deliveries planned by the professionals consulted were delayed. A new 1.5% increase applied this week would not be among the difficulty factors.

According to the sources heard, there is still another obstacle expected to happen soon. After restricting the offer of standard items in other versions, especially wi-fi, the risk is that part of this connectivity and other items are threatened, something not confirmed by General Motors.

Another item with an uncertain future, according to them, is the induction charger (wireless) for smartphones. It is necessary to point out that the digital air conditioning had already become an optional R$ 1 thousand, however, it is impossible to find, it became a phantom accessory. Even sellers can’t order. All were unanimous in stating that discounts are out of the question. “We can’t even guarantee that the models we sell to order will be delivered with the same specifications”, says one of them.

About three weeks ago, some sellers were already saying that the business was to buy what was still in stock, which had been restored at the launch of the 2022/2023 line. And that prices could increase in the next batches, a trend that affects Chevrolet and almost all cars. Finding an Onix for immediate delivery now demands an effort similar to that required for those who want to buy a new generation video game.

“We can’t trust the delivery of the next batch either. The car should have production delayed from this month onwards”, reveals a salesman from a large network of the brand. Employees at the dealerships spoke to the reporter on condition of anonymity.

wanted by UOL Cars, GM limited itself to sending an official note. “We are constantly monitoring the situation of the global supply chain, which is still showing unpredictability. We continue to work actively with our suppliers to mitigate potential impacts on production and take appropriate measures to meet customer demands.”

Cars have become ‘too good’

Specialists wanted by UOL Cars were unanimous when analyzing the current moment of Onix: some cars were “too good” to continue as they are. It’s the so-called semiconductor crisis, something that afflicts even much more expensive cars, like the new generation Audi A3, which should have come with semi-autonomous assistants and doesn’t even have a blind spot sensor – something present in the Onix Premier.

“I think the slight stoppage is quite possible, as Chevrolet has already gone five months without production due to lack of components. No doubt this affects GM’s ability to fulfill the ambition of first place. When they stop producing any vehicle or equipment installed, I believe that is due to the lack of components”, analyzes Cassio Pagliarini, director of strategy at Bright Consulting.

The expert also points out that Hyundai and Fiat have an advantage in supplying semiconductors. “Hyundai has its semiconductor negotiations directly with South Korean suppliers. You can see that Asians have better negotiations, for example Toyota, which is on fire. Nissan does not stop, Honda is also accelerated”, explained Cassio.

“The American and European companies managed the best. Because Stellantis was also favored and continued at full steam. Because the company’s general management has a very favorable position, Brazil is the only place where Fiat is a leader and all brands of the group are growing, that is, the multinational prioritized deliveries to the region”, he added.

Ricardo Bacellar, advisor to SAE Brasil, points out that the semiconductor crisis is far from over. “The first normalization promise was until the middle of last year, it moved to the end of 2021, first quarter of 2022 and now the most updated projection says it will only be in early 2023.”

The explanation is not simple, but it involves the home office, as mentioned by Erwin Franieck, CEO of the SAE4Mobility institute. “What happened: all this recovery in the information technology, computers, media and television industries. Their demand has not fallen and it is under pressure. Korean and Japanese manufacturers had local manufacturers with extensive contracts and there was not so much break in the chain, they are linked to the base where these models are produced”.

“While those who have this very strong dependence on Asia, Europe and America are the ones that suffered the most from the rearrangement of demand. Now it is a slow process, and each one has a supply problem”, he concluded.

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