Australian car dealers have called for patience as a global computer chip shortage leads to supply delays.
There are anecdotal reports some new car buyers are having to wait up to six months to receive their new wheels.
Australian Automotive Dealer Association chief executive James Voortman did not deny that was the case, but said not every buyer was facing the long wait.
“Unfortunately, there are reports of long wait times for some models,” he told 7NEWS.com.au.
“But there are certain makes and models of cars which have better levels of supply and consumers should speak to their dealers to understand the extent of any delays.
“We are certainly seeing delays in the supply of new cars and this is leading to longer wait times for customers, but the scale of these supply shortages and the average wait times differ between vehicle brands.”
The chip, or semiconductor, shortage has been attributed to a series of issues in the United States, where companies are believed to account for 47 per cent of global chip sales.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic reportedly led to some automakers to cut down their production and ordering of chips based on the incorrect assumption demand for cars would fall.
Pandemic lockdowns also caused a surge in demand for electronics, an industry which competes for chips with the vehicle industry.
Further, a winter storm in Texas last month cut off production in the state’s chip plants.
“There is a global shortage of computer chips which have become key components used throughout the modern day motor vehicle,” Voortman said.
“It has affected almost every major automotive manufacturer in every global market and it comes after pandemic induced factory closures through much of 2020 led to delays in vehicle deliveries for many brands.
“There is no clarity on how long delays will persist, but we know our manufacturing partners are working very hard to overcome these challenges so that we can return to normal.
“Nevertheless, consumers should communicate with their dealer and prepare to be patient, but they should consider placing their orders for cars as soon as possible to minimise wait times.
“We share the frustration of our customers, and we would ask our customers to be patient while the issues currently being experienced in the supply chain are rectified.
“Australia imports all of its passenger vehicles, so this is an issue beyond the control of Australia’s dealers who do not like to keep their customers waiting.”
‘Share the frustration’
Ford Motor Co recently said a lack of chips could cut the company’s production by up to 20 per cent in the first quarter.
General Motors said it was forced to cut output at factories in the United States, Canada and Mexico and would reassess its production plans in mid-March.
The issue has prompted US President Joe Biden to signed an order launching an immediate 100-day review of supply chains.
– With Reuters