Drivers wait six months for new cars as delivery times explode

The time between posting a bond and picking up a new car has dropped to almost six months from about a month before the pandemic, as automakers struggle to secure sufficient supplies of components and parts .

For some manufacturers and models, wait times can exceed a year as COVID-19 related lockdowns and reduced production at factories in China and other parts of Asia hamper parts supply essentials, especially computer chips.

Wait times for new cars continue to increase due to COVID-related disruptions to manufacturers’ parts supply.Credit:Rob Homer

Wait times began to increase in July 2020 as COVID-19 infections increased, factories closed or reduced production, and container ship crews fell ill, limiting transportation. Australia imports all its cars from overseas.

Figures from PriceMyCar, which collects data from dealerships across the country, show wait times hit 117 days at the end of 2021, before continuing to rise, reaching 159 days in August.

Along with skyrocketing wait times, prices paid for new cars have also increased. Figures from PriceMyCar show that since January 2019, the median price of a Toyota Yaris has nearly doubled.

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PriceMyCar reports actual prices paid by consumers, which are rising due to a combination of automakers raising their recommended prices and dealerships being less likely to offer discounts than before the pandemic due to high demand.

“Buyers often find that they pay for the full sticker [recommended] price for a car that may have been heavily discounted a few years ago,” says PriceMyCar founder and CEO David Lye.

In addition to raising prices, some manufacturers have “despecified” their cars, removing certain functions normally provided by computer chips in short supply, to restart production. This may include no longer being equipped with wireless smartphone chargers or removing blind spot monitoring.

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