Lead time lunacy

When the credit crunch first affected car sales back in mid to late 2008 dealers quickly became aware that not only were profits under severe pressure but that over production over many years meant we were face with scenes of air fields full of cars and huge tankers circling Europe unable to unload even more unwanted vehicles.

Fast forward to 2011 and car manufacturers and dealers are engulfed in a completely different problem and that is a distinct lack of certain new models available for customers to buy in what would be considered a “normal” time frame.

In the past most cars were available for sale with virtually immediate delivery and those that weren’t could usually be expected to be built and delivered within a maximum of 12 weeks, which if a customer had wanted a model built to their exact specification would be a reasonable timeframe.

However today, believe it or not, we are looking at certain cars taking up to a full year to be delivered which is quite simply unacceptable.

The reasons for this are many and varied and probably in isolation would not cause too much hassle but collectively conspire to give dealers a major headache when managing customer expectation not to mention a myriad of lost profit opportunities which see customers simply moving on to plan B.

We have all tried to call the market in the last few years and, although the impact of scrappage gave a welcome boost, the big winners in the scrappage scheme are more than likely having a tougher time of it right now and the type of vehicle popular with scrappage buyers was much more accessible than higher end examples.

We have spoken to many dealers about this problem and in many cases it’s down to a particular supplier of parts or engine components having gone out of business or have ramped back production in response to the downturn. Now with demand having increased, it means a severe shortage of certain parts leading to lead times and waiting lists growing ever longer.

The fact that manufacturers are loath to admit there is even a problem means nobody seems to have an answer as to when the situation will ease and it also seems that when one problem eases and supply gets better a problem occurs elsewhere and causes a similar effect on other makes and models.

Car buyers and dealers who are currently in this position will feel this frustration and some dealers we have spoken to have had to completely recalculate their March forecasts because the cars simply will not arrive in time which means they are likely to miss their budgets. Even though they have many orders ready to be fulfilled they are not at all confident of the numbers as customers lose patience and put their deposit on cars that they can get in a reasonable timeframe.

If this is something you are currently experiencing as a frustrated car buyer and you feel you are simply not getting the communication you need to help you in finding out exactly what’s happening then let us know and we will try and get some answers on your behalf.

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2 Responses to Lead time lunacy

  1. Peter Etherden March 31, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    Shortage of parts – what rubbish, its called lack of planning. I have been emboiled in th VW passat CC saga for the last 7 months, I have been supplied with three differant varients of passat by VW while I await delivery of the car I ordered. Between the three cars (sitting in stock, manufactured in the last few months without a specific order) there are all the parts that are in short supply and delaying delivery of my car!!! – I beleive VW car orders were down for the first two months of the year and yet they manufactured the same amount of cars as last year which I pressume many are now sitting in stock – My car yet to be made?

  2. Richard H April 17, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    Same problem here. I’ve been closely following the release and road tests of the all new 2011 VW Jetta from it’s release in the USA. A few weeks ago, my dealer had (for just one afternoon) one of the VW UK Jettas that was doing the rounds of the UK dealerships to introduce them to the new car. He phoned me, and I dropped by for a first look. I came away very interested…

    Yesterday, I test drove the dealer’s demonstrator, which had been delivered 2 days previously, and was still impressed. However, when it came to talking about delivery… VW dealers have recently been told that delivery times will be at least 6 months in the UK!

    How on earth can VW hope to get a new model into the marketplace when they have zero stock to back up a new model launch – or are we Brits at the bottom of the food chain again!

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