Anyone looking to buy a new Hyundai in the coming months may experience lengthy delays in taking delivery of their car.
Australia’s third most popular car brand – behind Toyota and Mazda – is facing lengthy hold-ups in the arrival of new showroom stock due to parts shortages caused by factory shutdowns following to the coronavirus in China.
A confidential bulletin issued to Hyundai dealers has warned up to half of the models expected in the next few months could be delayed and has advised dealers to notify customers there may be a long wait.
The bulletin says in part: “Following the earlier (notice) regarding the Hyundai Plant Closure due to the effects of the coronavirus causing disruptions in the supply of China-sourced parts, Hyundai has reduced production by approximately more than 50 per cent of the Australian market in February. Please continue to monitor all incoming stock … and inform customers of their expected delivery of their cars.”
While Hyundai is a South Korean company, China makes parts for most global car brands.
Hyundai's sister brand Kia – which shares common parts – has not issued the same warning to dealers in Australia and says its vehicle production is "being carefully managed". "From Australia's point of view, the situation for us is not drastic at the moment," said a Kia Australia spokesman.
Most car parts suppliers in China have recommenced production after factory shutdowns of one to two weeks. Hyundai is the first major automotive company in Australia to issue a warning regarding lengthy delays on a large number of vehicles.
Retail sales of passenger cars in China fell by a staggering 92 per cent in the first 16 days of February, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), (4909 sales in the first half of the month versus 59,930 for the same period a year earlier).
Global Mercedes bosses late last week forecast widespread global disruption to parts supply out of China, but were yet to issue warnings about delays in delivering cars to its dealer network.
Japanese car makers Nissan and Honda have delayed the restart of some of their Chinese parts factories, but Toyota is slowly ramping up production at all four of its car assembly lines in the country.
Meanwhile, the supply of Hyundai cars in Australia will also be strangled due to delays caused by yet another interruption to shipments due to stink bugs.
The confidential Hyundai bulletin said: “We have also been advised that the vessel SFL Conductor is currently being quarantined in Melbourne. The Department of Agriculture has requested further tests be conducted (to determine if) further treatment is needed or full inspection of the vessel is required.”
Late last year, Hyundai and its sister company Kia had 10,000 cars delayed one to two weeks due to stink bugs after several ships were stopped from entering several ports around Australia – until the vessels and their cargo were treated to eradicate the pests.
Luxury car brand Mercedes, meanwhile, had a different ecological hurdle. In October 2019 the German car brand had to turn around close to 1000 new vehicles across its entire line-up due to an infestation of snails.
At some considerable expense the Mercedes vehicles had to be quarantine in Australia until special frames could be built so they could be exported in containers, rather than driven on and off a ship.