Carmakers signal end of shortages after two years of runaway prices

The world’s biggest car maker is ramping up production after three years of disruption, adding to hopes of cheaper cars and shorter waiting times for drivers. Toyota, the

world's top car producer, plans to surpass pre-pandemic production levels this year, it said on Monday. Meanwhile, its closest rival Volkswagen said it expects to return to

growth in China, the world’s largest car market and a big source of critical parts. Car makers have struggled with shortages, particularly of computer chips, since the early

days of the pandemic, leading to disrupted production. For two years, manufacturers complained of a semiconductor supply shortage as consumers working-from-home invested in

new gadgets and laptops. With no letup in demand for new vehicles, car prices soared and buyers had to wait up to a year for delivery. Now, demand is weakening as the

global economy slows. Chips are also easier to come by as tech companies adjust production to reflect the new economic reality.   “Currently, we are working toward a

production volume with a ceiling of 10.6 million units for 2023,” Toyota said in a statement, compared to the 9.1m cars it made in 2019. However, it cautioned that it may have to

cut its target to 9.54m if the chip shortage returns. Volkswagen said China’s car market will grow by 4pc to 5pc this year, reaching 23m sales. The Chinese market for

electric cars is growing “unbelievably fast,” said Ralf Brandstaetter, the carmaker’s head of China operations. The sunnier outlook raises the prospect that waiting times

could ease and prices may fall.