Car buyers lose patience with lag times

Less than five per cent of new car buyers are willing to wait more than a year for a new vehicle.

According to the latest research by What Car?, the global semiconductor shortage has pushed vehicle lead times to beyond 12 months across many manufacturers, and while buyers are aware of long delays, few are willing to wait longer than a year.

After surveying 1,640 in-market buyers, it found that just 4.5% of new car buyers said they’d be willing to wait a year for their next vehicle to arrive.

Meanwhile, 10.3% were happy to wait between nine and 12 months, while 18.1% would wait between six and nine months. More than a third (36.5%) expect their vehicle within the first three months, and 30.6% within three to six months.

When expected waiting times cannot be met, 48.4% of new car buyers said they would switch to a vehicle from another car maker, while 38.7% said they would consider a nearly new or used car.

Steve Huntingford, editor, said: “Long waiting times are the current norm, and while buyers are aware of the causes behind them, few are willing to wait longer than a year for a vehicle. The result is buyers moving to manufacturers and retailers with stock or to the used market. Manufacturers are working to offset long lead times but given the semiconductor shortage is likely to extend to next year, there’s little to suggest delivery times falling anytime soon.”