Car buyers will not accept long lead times for new car orders when car retailers resume activity after June 1, according to research by What Car?.
A third of buyers said they would unwilling to wait more than four weeks for a factory order and 12.5% said they would switch brands if lead times for a particular model were excessive.
The data shows that a further 25% are unwilling to wait more than eight weeks as production lines begin to operate again.
“It's clear that patience is not going to be a virtue after June 1,” says Rachael Prasher, managing director of Haymarket Automotive. “It’s going to be something dealers on the frontline, and OEM’s from an operational perspective, will have to address if they are to secure every potential sale.
“Given the ramping up of production is a gradual process, ‘expectation management’ is going to be important. Those willing and needing to buy will need choice presented more than ever before or they will simply walk away.”
With the majority of car plants closed since the end of March, manufacturers face a challenge to complete outstanding vehicle orders and meet demand for new buyers.
In terms of ‘walking away’, 31% of respondents said they would choose to delay their purchase if expectations on waiting times could not be met.
"Thankfully for those whose businesses depend on sales, the needs of the majority – end of lease, change of circumstances – outweigh the ability to postpone," said Prasher. "They simply have to change their car – but it is clear that they will be making high demands over waiting times.”
Promotion of in-stock models will be important to keep a prospect within the franchise, with 15% indicating they would happily go down that road rather than waiting; a further 25% will look at nearly new models and 16.6% will consider used.