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New car buyers increasingly happy to sit tight as new car waiting lists stretch upwards

Time 7:51 am, October 13, 2020

As new car waiting list times creep upwards, research has revealed some car buyers are happy to wait as long as it takes to get the exact model they want.

With factories shut down during the coronavirus pandemic and the restart taking longer than some manufacturers would have liked, new car supply has taken a hit.

September new car registrations suffered in part due to new car supply and customers and car dealers are reporting longer than usual waits for new cars – especially electric models.

Peugeot, for example, is reporting 12-week plus waits for popular electric cars like the e-2008. 

Other brands telling customers they’ll have to wait more than three months for their new car include BMW for its X5 45e, Kia for its e-Niro and Land Rover for the Defender.

Customers are waiting more than three months for a new Defender

Research by What Car? has revealed that 65 per cent of customers are prepared to wait a month or more for their new car with nearly 21 per cent happy to wait four months or longer.

Editorial director Jim Holder said: ‘There’s a significant – and growing based on our weekly polling – number of buyers who say they will wait as long as it takes to get the exact car they want.

‘That’s great news for the industry, and shows that a significant proportion of buyers still value the car as a hugely personal purchase.’

However, Holder warns that dealers and manufacturers need to carefully manage their customers to ensure they are not disappointed.

He added: ‘Demand has to be good for dealers – but only if they also have the processes in place to manage expectations.

‘Whether that’s persuading the customer to wait and outlining everything they can do to help them during that period – for instance, confirming a trade-in value, or offerings, courtesy car to bridge the gap as part of the deal – or selling them into a different car that is available sooner, be it an alternative new car or a nearly new or used model.’

Holder says Haymarket readers – that include Autocar and What Car? – may be mostly happy to wait, but dealers need to remember there is still a proportion of buyers who want their car now, or relatively quickly.

  • Car Dealer Mag issue 151 out now – Read it here
  • Have you nominated yourself for a Used Car Award? – Do it here
  • Which is the best car manufacturer to represent? – Find out here
James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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