Those of you who follow technology news or LG stock prices might have noticed the news about a massive fire at the LG Chem factory in South Korea on March 3rd. Why should you care? LG is the second largest manufacturer of laptop batteries in the world and supplies laptop batteries for many of a world’s largest manufacturers of notebooks.
This means that most laptop makers won’t have a sufficient supply of batteries for some time. Officials from LG Chem indicated that their battery assembly lines won’t resume production for another two or three months.
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HP, Dell and Asus are among those OEMs hit hardest by the drop in production. Asus claims the battery shortage could impact up to 40 percent of their new laptop shipments … including the much anticipated Eee PC update. Dell has reorganized the deployment of their existing stock of laptop batteries in order to make sure new built-to-order laptops have enough batteries. This means that secondary and replacement batteries from Dell are in limited supply.
As of this morning, most laptop manufacturers such as Lenovo and HP have kept laptop battery prices the same despite the decreased supply. Unfortunately, many people in our discussion forums have noticed that Dell has now increased the price of all their laptop batteries by 50 to 100 percent.
Granted, we expected to see limited availability of laptop batteries in the wake of the LG factory fire, but we never expected to see prices like these after less than one month following the fire.
What makes the price increase all the more frustrating is that Samsung SDI and Sony in Japan are more than capable of picking up the slack by increasing battery production to supply laptop OEMs with sufficient inventory.
Regardless of whether these price increases are justified or simple price gouging, the bottom line for consumers is "Buyer Beware." If you purchase an extra laptop battery or a replacement for your old battery right now you might have to pay twice the price you should.