While the automotive industry is still dealing with stock shortages, there is a consensus the worst is behind us. Here’s why 2022 could be a good year to buy a new car.
New-car waiting times in Australia should get shorter by the middle of this year, as the global automotive industry recovers from crippling stock shortages amid the coronavirus crisis.
Fewer car assembly line workers are expected to be absent due to illness – and availability of semiconductors is due to improve by the second half of 2022, according to the latest forecasts out of Europe and Asia.
Many car companies in Australia are still only receiving daily and weekly updates on supply constraints and interruptions to production.
Most car factories plan to work overtime in the coming months to fill existing orders – and meet ongoing demand for new motor vehicles.
While popular models such as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid have waiting times that stretch up to 12 months, and the Nissan Patrol 4WD has a queue that stretches longer than six months in some cases, the auto industry says the worst of the shortages should soon be behind us.
Market leader Toyota says it is “optimistic about the prospects for the coming year” in Australian new-car sales.
“Our order bank continues to grow,” said Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss Sean Hanley.
“Of course, strong demand brings its own challenges, and we are acutely aware that some customers are facing extended wait times for their vehicles.
“We apologise for the inconvenience, and we thank these customers for their patience. I can assure you that we … are doing everything we can to increase supply and get these customers behind the wheel of their new Toyotas as soon as possible.”
Toyota accounted for one in five of all new motor vehicles sold in Australia last year, and plans to maintain that market share this year as its factories ramp up production.
“For 2022, given what we know right now, our target is to increase sales beyond last year’s total and maintain our market share above 20 per cent,” said Mr Hanley.
“Our market share (for 2021) was 21.3 per cent – and we’ve been above 20 per cent for 25 individual months in the past two-and-a-half years. Never in our history have we achieved such a sustained record of market strength.”
The Toyota Australia executive added: “The economy’s still very strong in Australia. I don’t see any reason that that would fall over in the (next) 12 months.
“It may be challenged in terms of supply still, but we’ll manage that as we go through. We are still optimistic about the future. We’re cautious … about making predictions on sales at this stage, except to say that we’re confident we’ll go beyond what we did last year,” said Mr Hanley.
The chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Tony Weber, said the past two years have been “the most challenging years the Australian automotive sector has ever experienced.”
However, he said, “underlying demand for new vehicles has remained strong” and “interest, enquiries, and intention to buy were all buoyant.”
“It is not possible to speculate on what last year’s sales result could have been if we had not experienced the severe interruptions to supply,” said Mr Weber.
“But we remain confident that the outlook for 2022 will again be positive. I believe we can look ahead to the coming year with optimism.”
Mr Weber added: “It’s very hard to predict what 2022 will bring, especially after what we’ve been through the last two years, but there is hope. Obviously, we’re hearing good signs that Omicron will be something that’s short term. I hope that is right, and if that is the case around the world, and we are over the worst of COVID, you start to see factories open up, their supply chains open up.
“The blockages in the supply chain should start to unravel, all going well in 2222. Hopefully, that means that Australians don’t have to wait so long to have new vehicles delivered.”