May 5, 2022
Why is my new car taking so long to arrive? It’s a question we’re seeing asked more and more by our clients which is why we wanted to put together this piece to help explain the current climate and what impact it is having on new deliveries.
Long-Term Impact of the Pandemic
Just like the rest of the world and other industries the car manufacturing industry was severely affected by Covid-19 and measures put in place, both nationally and internationally, to reduce its spread. Over the past two years there’s not one stage of the manufacturing and shipping process that hasn’t had to change in some way due to the pandemic, and whilst a lot of the world is beginning to return to normal we’re likely to continue to see an effect on the lead times for new cars until the end of the year if not beyond.
Factories have had to close due to lockdowns in their area and then when they were able to reopen had to do in a way that was safe for their employees, which meant layout changes to give more space between workers and fewer workers in at one time and needing more frequent cleaning means that the time it took to produce one vehicle was longer than pre-covid.
Rules around isolation mean that when any workers got sick there would be a pause in the supply chain, whether it was someone producing parts to be shipped to the factory, someone on the assembly line or someone moving the vehicle for shipping. With a lot of countries put in place isolation periods for those in contact with others who have confirmed Covid and concerns about it spreading on surfaces there would be times that parts of factories would be shut, a particular car could not be moved or delivery to a customer’s address would need to be delayed for a few days.
During lockdowns many factories paused their orders of parts, including the semi-conductor microchips which are essential for the electrical components of all modern cars. When they reopened and went to reorder parts there was some backlog and delay to these as well, due to the parts production process also being affected by Covid closures and new protocol. Additionally, semi-conductor chips aren’t just used by cars but different types are used across all kinds of modern electrics including mobile phones, tablets and computers which there was an increased demand for during Covid. Due to their cancelled parts orders, car manufacturers had slipped in priority for microchip producers and so the wait time to receive these parts is longer and many have seen a shortage of these chips.
Longer Build Lists
A build list is essentially the waiting list of customers who have placed an order for a new car and so a vehicle needs to be built. Due to closures and part shortages these lists have gotten longer than we’ve ever seen before and as the delays to new vehicles continue the waiting list continues to grow as production cannot meet the current demand. Some manufacturers have already advised they are now looking at early 2023 delivery for new factory orders.
Conflict in Ukraine
Some manufacturers with European factories are now also feeling the effects of the conflict in Ukraine. Wiring harnesses are produced by factories in Ukraine and right now the manufacturers are rightly prioritising keeping their employees safe over producing parts so they are not operational at the minute. This is affecting a few of the big-name brands including BMW, and they are having to look for alternative places to source these parts and may need to pause the manufacturing of some models if they run out before then.
How Do I Know When My Car Will Arrive?
Most manufacturers will update their dealerships and customers when there is movement to its expected arrival.
If you have a car on order through Wessex Fleet, then we will regularly request updates from the dealership and let you know where your car is in the build journey, including any movement to the vehicle’s expected arrival.