Less than 5% of buyers willing to wait more than a year for a new car

A survey of What Car? readers revealed that 73% of buyers would be happy to accept a lower-spec car if it meant they could have it sooner than their original choice...

A couple talk to a car dealership employee

The ongoing semiconductor chip shortage is leading to increased delivery times across the car market, but What Car? research has revealed that less than 5% of new car buyers are willing to wait more than a year for their vehicle to arrive.

Surveying 1640 in-market buyers, of which 739 were in the market for a new car, just 4.5% of new car buyers told What Car? they’d be willing to wait longer than 12 months for their next vehicle to arrive.

One-in-10 (10.3%) were happy to wait between 9-12 months, while 18.1% expect to receive their car between 6-9 months of placing an order. More than a third (36.5%) expect to have their vehicle delivered within 1-3 months, and 30.6% within 3-6 months.

Car dealership

When waiting times cannot be met, 48.4% of new car buyers told What Car? they would be switching to a vehicle from another car maker in the hopes of better stock availability, while 38.7% said they would be moving to the nearly new or used market. The remaining share of new car buyers (12.9%) said they would be sticking with the same manufacturer but would consider different models with hopefully shorter waiting times.

The semiconductor shortage is also affecting vehicle specification levels, with manufacturers having to compromise on technologies offered as a result. The research found 73.2% of new car buyers would be happy to buy a lower spec vehicle than they intended.

Manufacturers are working to offset long lead times, but given the semiconductor shortage is likely to extend to next year, there’s little to suggest delivery times falling anytime soon.

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