Truth Behind National Vehicle Shortage


A world-wide shortage of semiconductor chips is the dominant reason behind a national shortage of motor vehicles and Lancaster Motor Group dealer principal Mark Lancaster doesn’t see the situation resolving any time soon.

The chips are used in a huge range of products, refrigerators, ovens, phones, computers.  They are the basic building blocks of computers which all electronic devices use to process data.

When it comes to vehicles, there could be up to 100 semiconductor chips in one vehicle controlling everything from the mechanics, automatic locking, almost every vehicle feature.

The shortage has become so desperate that some car manufacturers are cutting features in vehicles that don’t impact safety, just to get the vehicles onto showroom floors and ultimately the road.

“I am hearing stories of vehicles lined up in paddocks, complete apart from the semiconductor chips, just sitting there.”

The impact is affecting new car sales of all vehicles, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, you name it.

Looking for a new Mitsubishi Triton and you will be waiting until December, Fords a little earlier in October/November but if you are in the market for a Chevrolet you will be waiting until mid next year and corvettes currently have a three year wait.

“Demand for new cars is strong and this is obviously impacting the used car market which is equally strong,” Mark said.

Back in 2016 the trend on vehicle sales was on a month-by-month decline, nationally, state-wide and regionally but all that has changed since about July last year.

“We have seen about a 15 per cent pick up in sales and we have back up orders for months, I have about 30 customers waiting on corvettes nationally,” Mark said.

All car dealerships have changed practices in accordance to covid requirements.

Purchase is now conducted, to a large extent, online with videos of the vehicles and mechanics reports sent to potential buyers and a 24-hour option to return the vehicle after purchase if it doesn’t meet expectations.

It has opened up the customer base for Lancasters with the Chevrolet base of customers coming from throughout Australia.

On the downside is the capacity for vehicle services to be completed for those purchasing from outside a lockdowned Local Government Area.

Manufacturers are adjusting service requirements.  For example, if a vehicle is due for a 15,000km service, manufacturers are varying that by one or two thousand kms or giving people a few extra months to have the service carried out.

“My suggestion is for those in this situation to speak with their closest manufacturing dealer about their options,” Mark said.