The automotive industry, like others, has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two-and-a-half years after the virus announced itself, the sector is still dealing with the after-effects of forced business lockdowns, reduced manufacturer volumes, global semi-conductor shortages and shipping disruptions.
Arguably, the biggest disruption the automotive sector has had to contend with is an increase in vehicle delivery times brought about by chronic stock shortages. It’s an issue that will take some time to resolve itself. Supply is not expected to meet demand until the beginning of next year, although some customers may have to wait longer still for delivery of certain brands.
In spite of this, there is evidence to show that car buyers are finding ways to deal with COVID-related delays.
Keith Thornton, CEO of Eagers Automotive, Australia’s largest car dealership group, told the Australian Financial Review earlier this year that what we have seen is car buyers resetting their expectations about vehicle wait times.
" in that the second-largest purchase by a family has always come with an expectation of effectively immediate delivery when, at the same time, people are happy to order furniture and wait for weeks or months,” he said.
“Generally speaking, customers are aware that we are in a ‘build-to-order’ more than a ‘buy-from-stock’ environment and have adjusted their expectations accordingly.”
Many customers, it seems, are opting to order vehicles with their chosen specifications and options, and are reluctant to settle for anything less. Rather than make concessions on their vehicle of choice, they are digging their heels and riding out the wait.