Some Canberrans waiting a year for new car as COVID causes delays
Car dealerships excluded from selling products through click-and-collect have had to extend wait times, with some customers already waiting up to one year.
Canberra Toyota dealer principal Mirko Milic said the industry was stuck in limbo due to COVID-19 restrictions.
"The yard is full of people's orders just waiting to be collected, but cars are not considered essential even for click-and-collect," Mr Milic said.
"In particular, cars like the RAV4 have a wait list of up to 12 months, with this lockdown unnecessarily extending the time people wait for their car. There has been a growing level of frustration from customers, so managing people's expectations is a big part of work now."
Despite COVID-19, there has been a rise in car sales which is extending the delay in customer orders.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries reported that sales of vehicles in Australia were up by 33 per cent compared to the same month last year.
"People are buying more cars because policies such as instant asset write-off have boosted confidence," Mr Milic said.
"Supply is another reason for the delay in car orders. We are constricted by what happens overseas with manufacturing being delayed due to other countries' COVID-19 restrictions and even freight issues due to the lockdown in Sydney."
Australian Automotive Dealer Association CEO James Voortman contacted the Minister for Health on August 27, saying many of the industry's operations were essential.
"These businesses deliver almost every new car in the territory including emergency services vehicles, such as ambulances and police cars," he said.
"They also supply vehicles to the many emergency and essential services workers who rely on those cars to get to work."
An ACT government spokesperson said small, nonessential retailers were able to operate via click-and-collect if they sold goods or supplied services and had 20 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.
Mr Voortman argued the car industry could not function under these circumstances.
"Quite a few of our members won't qualify with 20 or fewer employees due to many dealerships having multiple divisions that require more workers," he said.
The ACT government said it was constantly reviewing the situation in the ACT and would work to ease restrictions when it was safe to do so.
"The feedback from this industry is being taken into consideration in future planning that is currently under way," the spokesperson said.
Canberra's top five selling vehicles are:
- Toyota RAV4
- Ford Ranger 4X4
- Mazda CX-5
- Toyota Corolla
- Hyundai i30