The South African new-vehicle market could reach around 485 000 units this year, says Ford South Africa MD Neale Hill.
This will be a significant increase from the 380 000-unit sales recorded last year.
“However,” warns Hill, “the reason I’m hesitant about this year’s final number, is that we are going to see some challenges with vehicle availability.
“The third wave of Covid-19 is making its presence felt in South East Asia, with Malaysia in particular very hard hit.
“This country happens to be one of the main computer chip sources for the global automotive industry.”
Hill says the computer chip shortage is “really becoming a concern” for the automotive industry worldwide.
“At any point in time we could be managing constraints on over 25 different chips that go into our vehicles.
“All manufacturers are affected, some to a greater extent, some to a lesser extent.
“I think what we are looking at is a fourth quarter that could potentially see supply disruptions in terms of access to vehicles.
“It certainly means that inventory levels across the entire industry are significantly lower than what we’d seen before.”
Hill says he expects the situation to continue into 2022.
“We are going to continue to see challenges in that particular space.
“It will be interesting to see how this affects customer behaviour going forward. Previously, as a car-buying public, we were used to walking into a dealership and driving a vehicle off the lot. Now we are going to see people having to wait for their vehicles.”