MOTORISTS are having to wait longer than ever for new cars to be built, with even a humble Vauxhall Corsa taking three months from order to delivery.

Research by the online car marketplace BuyaCar.co.uk reveals that only one popular model is now available to buy new from a physical dealership and receive in time for Christmas.

BuyaCar.co.uk researchers investigated ‘lead times’ – how long it takes between ordering a new car and receiving it – for a number of popular models and discovered that only the Kia Sportage can now be bought before Christmas.

While the Sportage takes just two weeks to arrive after ordering, most popular models are now taking from two to three months – sometimes even longer – to be built and delivered.

One of the reasons for long lead times is slower car production in the UK, blamed by manufacturers on global and domestic economic uncertainty, with 14.4% fewer cars built so far this year according to official figures.*

In October alone 10% fewer cars were built for the British market, continuing a trend that has gone on for nearly two years. It means car makers and their traditional dealer networks are unable to hold large amounts of stock, forcing consumers to wait more than five months in the case of a Volkswagen Polo and even five-to-six weeks for Britain’s most popular car, the Ford Fiesta.

Meanwhile, used car sales have been steadily rising, with the fastest growth being recorded online. In just two years BuyaCar.co.uk has doubled sales and the recent launch of Cazoo as another specialist online car seller signals growing confidence in internet car retail.

The difference between the convenience of buying a nearly new car online and ordering a new one from a dealership is highlighted by the fact that on BuyaCar.co.uk there are still nine car shopping days until Christmas**, to guarantee home delivery before December 24th. In contrast a new Ford Focus ordered today may not arrive in the dealership until the second week in February.

Christofer Lloyd, Editor of BuyaCar.co.uk, said: “Few things highlight the difference for consumers between using an online car sales marketplace and the traditional dealer than contrasting the number of car shopping days left before Christmas between the two.

“On BuyaCar it’s possible to order a car right up until Friday December 13th and still have it on the drive for Christmas Day, whereas the only new car we found that could be ordered in time for the festive season was the Kia Sportage.

“With so much continued uncertainty affecting the new car market we don’t envisage things changing anytime soon and all the signs are that 2020 will see internet car shopping moving a step closer to being the ‘normal’ way people buy cars.” 

*Car Manufacturing Data for 2019, published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, from January 1st to October 31st https://www.smmt.co.uk/vehicle-data/manufacturing/

** As of publication date December 5th 2019

Lead times for popular new car models as of December 2019

Manufacturer

Model

Lead time

Volkswagen

Polo

21 weeks

Mercedes

S-Class

16-20 weeks

SEAT 

Leon Cupra

16-18 weeks

Volvo 

XC60 T8

18 weeks

SEAT 

Cupra Ateca

14-16 weeks

SEAT 

Tarraco

14-16 weeks

Vauxhall 

Corsa

12 weeks

Land Rover

Range Rover Sport

12 weeks

Audi 

A3 Sportback

12 weeks

Audi 

A3 Cabriolet

12 weeks

Volkswagen 

Golf

12 weeks

Volkswagen 

e-Golf

11 weeks

Ford 

Focus

7-9 weeks

Ford 

Kuga

7-9 weeks

Nissan 

Qashqai

8 weeks

Kia 

Ceed

6-8 weeks

Kia 

Picanto

3-8 weeks

Ford 

Fiesta

5-6 weeks

Kia 

Sportage

2 weeks