New car buyers willing to wait up to a year for their order, but dealers need to keep buyers updated

This is the latest report in a series of weekly updates for industry colleagues from Rachael Prasher, managing director of What Car? and Haymarket Automotive. Quoted poll data is from more than 1200 whatcar.com users.

‘Just 44% of buyers said that they had been asked to wear a mask, yet 68% of respondents would like dealers to continue requesting that staff and customers wear face masks’

As awareness of the microchip shortage grows, new car buyers are willing to wait up to a year for their next car, but want dealers to keep them updated on delivery times and delays, according to our latest industry research.

The findings also highlight the discrepancy between actual dealer standards and the wishes of customers. Of those who had visited a showroom in the past four weeks, just 44% said that they had been asked to wear a mask, yet 68% of respondents would like dealers to continue requesting that staff and customers wear face masks.

What Car? also surveyed 1245 in-market buyers set to purchase a new car, and found that 82% of buyers are aware that the microchip shortage has pushed waiting times for new models to beyond a year in some cases. Of the new car buyers surveyed, 20% are willing to wait longer than six months for their next car, while 10% are willing to wait 9-12 months for their new car.

The research also found that it is important for buyers that dealers keep them updated on their order, and 60% would accept their delivery time being extended if the seller was upfront about the possibility of it happening. When asked how often buyers would like updates on their order, 43% said they would prefer monthly updates, while 40% preferred weekly updates.

For the buyers whose expectations on waiting times could not be met, 46% said they would switch to a vehicle from another maker with better availability. Another 39% would consider buying from stock or the used market, and 15% would consider alternative vehicles from the same maker.

While buyers are now more understanding about longer waiting times, with many even willing to wait up to a year for their next new car, our research shows the importance of maintaining customer relationships during this period.