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Four-in-10 new car buyers put off by supply chain delays

Row of cars

Car buyers are deciding to withdraw from the market rather than wait for new vehicles to become available, according to new research from Close Brothers Motor Finance.

The motor finance provider said its latest survey data indicated that nearly four-in-ten (38%) of those considering a new car have been put off from buying at all because of supply chain delays.

Recent Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) data shows ongoing parts challenges are hampering the sector’s ability to meet demand. Registrations in June were at their weakest level since 1996, limited by the global shortage of semi-conductors.

Many models have waiting lists of more than 12 months. But the latest research from CBMF shows that nearly two-thirds of buyers (64%) would not be prepared to wait more than a year for any vehicle.

More than half (54%) plan to wait for production issues to ease before placing an order.

Lisa Watson, director of sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, said: “As the SMMT noted earlier this month, supply chain issues are causing more problems for the car industry than last year’s lockdowns.

“It’s completely understandable that buyers are unwilling to place orders for vehicles with no firm idea of delivery dates, but it’s disappointing that so many have lost confidence with what should be an exciting process of choosing a new car."

Watson added: “The sector is working hard to improve lead times. Our research shows dealers should work with buyers to understand where compromises can be made to get more cars on customers’ driveways as soon as possible.

“If the supply chain crisis wasn’t enough, the industry is also starting to see the impact of cost-of-living pressures and record high fuel costs. Prospective buyers, who may already be put off by delivery delays, will be considering their purchases even more carefully in the months ahead.”

More than a third of in-market car buyers have decided to delay their purchase due to rising living costs, according to research carried out by What Car?.

However, CBMF's research showed that some buyers are prepared to make compromises to get into a new car more quickly. More than four-in-ten (41%) would consider a less desirable vehicle for quicker delivery.

A similar proportion (44%) said they would be prepared to sacrifice some tech features, such as infotainment or assisted parking systems, to secure quicker delivery.

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