The month of June is a boom time for ute and van sales as businesses – big and small – take advantage of end of financial year deals.
However, Australia’s top-selling ute and van have been hit by severe stock shortages and dealers are now quoting delivery times of July – or longer – on vehicles ordered today.
It means small businesses may not be able to take advantage of tax incentives if they cannot pay for and accept delivery of work vehicles by June 30.
“Even if (a buyer) wants to pay for a car in full to get the tax benefit, we can’t give them a (vehicle identifying number),” said a Toyota dealer, speaking on condition of anonymity because sales staff are not allowed to comment on behalf of car companies.
“We will still have an okay June, but the vehicles we deliver were ordered months ago,” the Toyota dealer said. “If you order one today, it’s July at the earliest. And even then that’s not guaranteed.”
The only possibility, the dealer said, was picking up someone else's cancelled order on cars coming into stock.
Another Toyota dealer said he was fielding calls from other showrooms interstate, trying to source cars.
“It’s madness, the phones haven’t stopped ringing but we can’t help them,” said another Toyota dealer. “We’ve had customers and other dealers from other states ringing up trying to find cars.”
June is historically the biggest month of the year for new-car sales as businesses aim to minimise their taxable income – and maximise business expenses – in the last month of the Australian financial year.
Industry insiders said it was “impossible to pick” whether or not June new-car sales would be another record, or be held back by stock shortages.
“Our forward visibility is nowhere,” said a dealer source, referring to internal computer systems that show when vehicles are in production or on ships heading to Australia.
“Normally we can see months out, but because of the (semiconductor shortages) everything is up in the air.”
Last month was the best April on record for new-car sales in Australia, as vehicles ordered months earlier came through in a glut.
The industry is now being cautious about its recovery. Demand has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels as consumer confidence has improved and buyers plan to holiday at home or treat themselves to new car rather than an overseas vacation.
However, the industry is now concerned production slowdowns could hamper recovery efforts until later this year or early next year.