Customers who placed orders for vehicles equipped with the affected technology will have a portion of their purchase price refunded, according to confidential dealer bulletins seen by CarAdvice.
Other luxury car makers – and mainstream brands canvassed by CarAdvice this week including market leader Toyota – say they are yet to remove technology from their vehicles due to the semiconductor shortage.
A statement from BMW Australia confirmed there is “an impact on the availability of some options due to shortages in the supply of semiconductors”.
A BMW dealer bulletin says some of the more advanced safety systems have been deleted so the cars themselves can retain their planned production slots. Customers who want the extra safety features face further delays for their new cars.
A BMW dealer bulletin says the M Sport package on the BMW X5 30d has been downgraded to a X Line package, delivering a price reduction of $4000.
Furthermore, factory restrictions on the technology required for the Driving Assistance Professional package means this option is not available on certain examples of the BMW 3 Series, 4 Series, X3 and X4 for the next production run. Affected models will have a $2500 price reduction.
A statement from Mercedes confirmed a shortage of semiconductors (computer chips) has affected the availably of the Pre-Safe advanced safety tech on A-Class, B-Class, CLA, GLA and GLB (pictured below).
“For these vehicles the Pre-Safe system is currently not available to order and we are unable to say when things will change at a production level,” said a spokesman from Mercedes-Benz Australia.
The company said Pre-Safe is a “supplementary safety system that triggers anticipatory occupant protection measures, such as moving seats and closing the windows/sunroof, if the vehicle detects an accident is imminent”.
“Otherwise,” Mercedes said, “the standard suite of electronic safety aids remains equipped as normal in these vehicles, including Active Brake Assist, ESP (stability control), and Active Lane Keep Assist, and any ANCAP ratings are unaffected.”
In a statement to CarAdvice, market leader Toyota – which has the biggest range and sells the most cars in Australia – said: “We can confirm that Toyota Australia has not ‘de-contented’ any cars due to the global chip supply challenge. Toyota Australia has no plans to ‘de-content’ or change the specifications of any of our vehicles as quality is our highest priority.”
Toyota said overall demand for new vehicles – globally and in Australia – is “recovering much faster than anticipated just a few months ago”.
“Although our (factories) are increasing capacity, we are anticipating that wait times for high-demand models and some accessories will be longer than usual in the coming months,” said Toyota Australia.
“The wait time varies depending on the model, variant and specification requirements of each customer. The situation is continuing to evolve, and our dealers will continue to provide updates to our customers on delivery timeframes for individual orders.”
All other Top 10 car brands canvassed by CarAdvice said they had not been obliged to delete features from its cars as a result of the semiconductor shortage and, for now at least, had no plans to do so.