Demand for full-size US pick-ups such as the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 remains at record levels in Australia.
However, chronic parts shortages and production delays in the US have pushed back local deliveries until later this year.
Ram Trucks Australia was hopeful an interruption to production would only lead to a one-month delay.
However, although production has now restarted, the shutdown lasted more than two months, adding further delays to between 500 and 1000 examples of the classic DS Series destined for Australia.
It means local customers who had been hoping to take delivery by the middle of this year won't receive their Ram 1500 DS Series pick-ups until the last three months of this year.
Once the Australia-bound pick-ups are produced, they need to be shipped to Melbourne where they are remanufactured to right-hand-drive by the Walkinshaw Automotive Group in Melbourne before the vehicles are distributed to dealers.
Meantime, remanufactured examples the newer DT Series Ram 1500 (pictured below) are starting to come through to Australian showrooms in a trickle, say dealer sources, but there are still lengthy delays.
Some customers are advertising second-hand Ram 1500 DS Series for higher than retail prices, profiteering from impatient buyers.
A confidential dealer bulletin sent to Australian dealers at the start of the Ram factory shutdown said in part: “The global chip shortage that is plaguing the motor industry … has had little impact on Ram Trucks to date, but unfortunately it has now resulted in the temporary closure of the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan.”
“All going well ... we are advised that they will endeavour to catch up our production ASAP,” said the Ram dealer bulletin.
Despite the stock shortages and severe delays, sales of Ram trucks in Australia are stronger in the first five months of this year versus the same period last year.
Figures published by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries show more than 1300 Ram Trucks have been reported as sold so far this year, versus approximately 1100 over the same period last year, an increase of 16 per cent.
By comparison, Chevrolet has reported almost 600 pick-ups as sold locally in the first five months of 2021.