Toyota says it has reduced the waiting time on popular RAV4 Hybrid models but customers stuck in the queue say their delivery dates keep getting pushed back.
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Toyota RAV4 Hybrid delivery delays have again blown out to at least nine months – despite assurances from the company that it cut back waiting times – and now a customer group has called on the car company to come up with a fairer way to allocate cars.

Frustrated buyers claim the delivery dates on their new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid keep getting pushed back even though company representatives are adamant the delay had been reduced to four to six months.

Customers caught in the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid queue claim they are being given the runaround because some dealers get more cars than others – but buyers have no way of knowing which showrooms get a larger allocation of cars.

Sydney buyer David Higgins ordered his Toyota RAV4 Hybrid in September 2019 and was originally given an expected delivery date of January 2020. “It then got pushed back to February, then March, then April, and this week May,” Mr Higgins told CarAdvice.

“Despite what Toyota says, I know from personal experience the wait time for the RAV4 Hybrid Cruiser has now blown out to a minimum of nine months from order to delivery – which is just ridiculous,” he said. “I want to stress that is the best-case scenario minimum wait time I am facing – and plenty of other people online have been told the same.”

Out of frustration Mr Higgins turned to social media and found a growing number of Toyota RAV4 Hybrid customers stuck in a lengthening queue, so he established a Facebook page called “Australians waiting for 2020 RAV4s”, so people on the wait list could swap “whatever tiny bits of information they get”.

“In my case it’s been six months since I placed my order and I still don’t even have a production date,” said Mr Higgins. “I have no confidence that it will get built in May. I honestly doubt I will have the car within 12 months of ordering and I am on the verge of cancelling. It’s beyond a joke.”

Last month, Toyota Australia sales and marketing executive Sean Hanley told media: “The truth is, the highest (the delay) got to was around eight months, and that was late last year. We think by the end of this month [February], we will be able to get that down to around six months.”

Mr Higgins says people who have signed up to his Facebook page claim “no-one can tell you what is causing the delays”. “No-one can tell you why some people get their cars before other people – in some cases after a few months or even weeks – while others are waiting for nine months or more.”

Mr Higgins says when he phoned Toyota customer assistance he was effectively told: “we don’t know anything, call your dealer”. “[But] you call your dealer and they say ‘we don’t know anything either’.”

The Facebook group “Australians waiting for 2020 RAV4s” believe the main issue is that certain Toyota dealers get allocated more RAV4 Hybrids than others – but customers have no way of knowing the difference.

“Some people get the same model in a month and others are told 12 to 18 months,” said Mr Higgins. “Meanwhile the marketing manager is saying four to six months.”

“As a consumer you expect that your order just goes in a queue with everyone else in Australia. Surely that’s how it should work?” said Mr Higgins. “If there is some kind of allocation system, how are consumers supposed to understand that? How do they know which dealer is going to get a better supply over another dealer?”

Since launching the original Prius hybrid in 1997 in Japan and 2001 in Australia, Toyota has gradually expanded the technology across other models in its range (pictured above) including the Prius C hatch, Prius V seven-seater, Corolla hatch and Camry sedan. There are delays on some of these models but the queues are not as long as buyers shift towards SUVs such as the RAV4 Hybrid.