Toyota RAV4 Hybrid customers are still obliged to wait six months or more to take delivery of their new cars – despite a significant ramp up in production and what Toyota claims is a fair allocation system.
The waiting time for a new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid stretched up to 10 months last year and the company had claimed delays had eventually been reduced to three or four months in most cases.
However, demand has not waned and waiting times have started to climb again.
The head of sales and marketing for Toyota Australia, Sean Hanley, told CarAdvice the average wait time for a new RAV4 Hybrid is “about six months”.
“Right now, I'd say (the waiting time) is around six months but that could be seven. Demand for that car has not diminished at all,” said Mr Hanley.
Indeed, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid led the Australian new-car sales charts on two individual months last year. It was the first time a hybrid car had ever led the local market.
The high-ranking Toyota executive said waiting times “may vary depending on dealership and customer order timing”.
“Some people may be getting them sooner (than six months), some may be a month later,” said Mr Hanley.
“We’re experiencing extraordinary demand globally. We looked at this demand a year ago thinking will this continue? Well, the truth is it is continuing.”
Mr Hanley said Toyota Japan was working overtime to try to reduce the waiting times for Toyota RAV4 Hybrids in Australia, and the supply of vehicles could improve in the second half of 2021.
“For us, right now, the important thing is communicating effectively and honestly with our customers about that wait time,” said Mr Hanley.
“We’re endeavouring to do that and I know our dealers are doing that. In fact, we’ve got many initiatives right now where we’re communicating constantly, engaging with our customers to keep them informed. These are really important.”
When asked if Toyota Australia now has a more democratic way of allocating cars to customers – after Facebook groups revealed some buyers received their vehicles in three months while others inexplicably waited up to 10 months – Mr Hanley said:
“There’s lots of different ways of allocating cars and people will have opinions about what’s fair and what’s not fair, but the thing is we still look at a number of different scenarios when we allocate cars based on fair share of that allocation, based on the (area) the dealership operates in. Is (the allocation system) perfect? Probably not perfect, but I still think it’s the best and fairest system.”