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Car shortage sees consumer demand hit all-time high as 'vaporising' brand loyalty adds to manufacturers' woes

Car shortage sees consumer demand hit all-time high as 'vaporising' brand loyalty adds to manufacturers' woes

RECORD APPETITE for cars is clashing with unprecedented supply shortages to create a demand 'pressure cooker', according to new figures revealed by car information hub Autovia.

Consumer hopes of buying a car in the next 12 months are at an all-time high - despite no end in sight for the production problems plaguing car makers globally.

Autovia interviewed almost 2,500 in-market car buyers to reveal widespread frustration over forced delays due to stock shortages of new cars and record high prices for used cars - with only one in four intended buyers managing to make a purchase over the past six months.

To add to the headaches of manufacturers the supply shortage is also seeing brand loyalty vaporise, with almost half of all buyers reporting that they are considering alternative brands and models due to unavailability of their usual choices.

The number of people wanting to buy a car in the next three months has reached a staggering 41.2% - compared with a previous high of 11.9% in November 2017.

Historically, Autovia's consumer purchase intention tracking revealed most car owners looking to change their vehicle between 12 and 24 months in future. But last year's disruption due to Covid-19 lockdowns, followed by the global chip shortage, has led to a reversal of normal patterns.

Yet consumers are also refusing to give up hope, in the face of current challenges, with the latest data showing less than seven per cent of buyers postponing a purchase indefinitely.

John Webb, who heads Automotive Data, Demand Generation and Commercial Operations at Autovia, said: "The disruptions of the past two years have reversed the usual pattern we see in data for car-buying intentions.

"Despite the frustrations that led to 72% failing to find the right car at the right price over the last six months, half of the people we questioned still hope to find a car imminently and that rises to 69% when looking to purchase over the next six months.

"We're seeing a pressure cooker of demand in a market that still can't hope to satisfy consumer appetite and many commentators saying that production problems are likely to continue into the second half of 2022."

Autovia quizzed 2,445 'in-market' car owners in the final week of October. Other findings from the research include:

Only 57% of buyers say they are prepared to wait three months for a new car

47.4% are looking at alternative models to their original choices

17.9% say the car they want is not currently available to buy

21.1% say that high prices are currently putting them off buying

86.8% say their plans to buy have been delayed by supply and price problems

32.8% bought a used car instead of their intended new car

John Webb said: "The challenge today for dealers and manufacturers who are unable to meet the immediate and imminent high demand will be to maintain customer interest in such a volatile market.

"Perhaps the most significant finding in our data is that almost half of the huge number of hopeful buyers are prepared to change their choice of car.

"This is a red flag for brand loyalty because motorists are likely to switch makes to find the comparable size and body style they originally set their hearts on.

"Right now there are big opportunities to win conquest sales for those dealers and manufacturers who can best communicate the availability of existing stock.

"And, long term, there are two types of business which will emerge from these troubled times with the strongest advantage; those who are quickest to solve their supply issues and those who are able to nurture relationships with their delaying customers until the moment they can supply them."

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