Why a car industry titan expects Australian new car price rises to slow

Australian new car buyers smashed by consistent price rises are set for some relief.

That’s according to Neville Crichton, chairman of the Ateco Group responsible for importing and distributing Ram, Renault, LDV, and Maserati cars in Australia.

Along with the global semiconductor shortage and production hold-ups related to COVID-19, carmakers have been battling skyrocketing shipping costs.

Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert

“That’s been the biggest problem, getting cars here,” Mr Crichton told media. “We can produce the cars in China, we can’t get the shipping.”

Mr Crichton pointed to a shortage of roll-on, roll-off boats capable of transporting cars as a driver of shipping delays for carmakers, after a number were scrapped around the start of COVID-19.

With “seven new [roll-on, roll-off] boats coming on stream” globally early in 2024, he’s forecasting smoother sailing and cheaper shipping for carmakers – with that leading to new car prices stabilising “for sure”.

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Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert

Carmakers are also getting creative with how they ship cars to ensure they get to customers sooner.

Ford has rented its own ship to bring the Ranger and Everest in from Thailand, while brands such as BYD are driving cars directly into sealed shipping containers after manufacturing them to avoid potential quarantine delays.

There’s been recent relief for Australian car buyers, too.

“The last three or four months you’ll have seen our sales have come up, and that’s more the fact that we can get the cars here,” Mr Crichton told media. “We just haven’t had stock.”

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Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert

VFACTS figures for August new car deliveries in Australia show supply is improving across the industry, and a number of carmakers have forecast a big finish to the end of 2023 as cars finally arrive.

Toyota Australia this week confirmed it will see unprecedented improvements to new vehicle stock availability for the remainder of this year.

The company’s vice president of sales, marketing and franchise relations, Sean Hanley, said wait times are set to dramatically decrease.

“The momentum began to shift in the second quarter of this year when dealer throughput was 25 per cent higher than that of the first quarter,” said Mr Hanley.

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