Customers waiting over a year for some hybrid car models
If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you may have to get in line.
Experts say new vehicle inventory is so low that waitlists across the country range from months to years – and Waterloo region is no exception.
“At this point in time, we have one new car for sale,” said Aaron Hansen, general sales manager of Kitchener Kia, gesturing to a vehicle on the lot.
Hansen says the dealership has about 150 customers in line for new cars.
“The wait times vary. It could range from three months to over one year depending on the specific model of the car you are ordering,” he said.
Kitchener resident Sue Kieswetter waited over a year for a new hybrid before eventually going with another vehicle.
“The manufacturer for hybrids is in South Korea,” Kieswetter said. “So, they said ‘it’s not coming in and we have absolutely no idea when.’”
Because Kieswetter’s current warranty was about to expire, she took home an internal combustion engine instead. It was the only new vehicle available at the time.
“We did a lot of research and found out this is normal at every single car company in the world now, so we either get this car or pay mechanics for years to come,” she said.
WHAT'S BEHIND THE DELAY?
New cars are hard to come by at any dealer right now.
Toyota Canada warns customers it “highly recommends that customers interested in a specific vehicle go to their local Toyota dealership and place their order as soon as possible.”
“The reality is that [in] the last few years, some events happened that we haven’t seen in a long while, so the first one is for sure the COVID pandemic ... there was a war in Ukraine that happened, so it was a chain of events that created a lot of pressure on the supply chain,” said Charles Bernard, lead economist with the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association.
Inventory is slowly getting better, but experts warn brand new vehicles could still take months to arrive, and hybrid and electric cars are taking even longer.
“Anything with an electronic component is for sure, 12 months-plus, just because the demand is so high,” Hansen said.
He says it’s important to speak with a dealer you trust to ensure the vehicle you may wait a year for is going to be – and cost – what you want.