Delays for new hybrid and electric cars in Canada reach years, not months, due to supply shortages

The auto industry halted production early in the pandemic, prompting chip suppliers to sell to electronics makers instead.

Across the country, Canadians are facing long wait times for new vehicles as a supply chain crisis and shortage of computer chips prevent automakers from producing enough to meet demand.

When Jesse Chiasson called a car dealership last month to buy a new vehicle, he ended up paying $1,000 to be put on a waiting list instead.

“The seller was pretty vague but hinted it could be 2024 by the time we get the car,” Chiasson said in an interview from Bathurst, NB. “In the worst case, we could wait up to three years.”

The problem seems to be worse for electric automobiles. Government rebates, rising gas prices and growing concerns about climate change appear to be worsening the shortage of hybrid, plug-in and fully electric cars.

“We expected a wait, but were still shocked at how long it could take,” Chiasson said of the delay for a new Kia EV6. “They also said the price might change.”

Many vehicles are sold out before they even hit the ground, leaving some dealership parking lots nearly empty as waiting lists grow indefinitely.

The lack of inventory affects salespeople, many of whom depend on commissions to make a living.

And the manufacturing shutdowns are affecting auto plant workers as well.

“We had periods of layoffs or reduced hours for at least 10 weeks at all of these facilities between January and September of this year,” Unifor National President Lana Payne said in an interview.

“For these factories, it’s about a third of their working time that has been lost this year,” she said. “It’s almost entirely related to a shortage of parts – mostly microchips, but other parts as well.”

The tiny semiconductor chips power everything from essential safety features like airbags and brakes to bonus features like GPS or a touchscreen entertainment system.

There are over 100 chips in an average car. They handle everything,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions LLC.

The auto industry halted production early in the pandemic, prompting chip suppliers to sell to electronics makers instead.

When automakers came back online, the chips they needed weren’t available. Chipmakers were busy producing more cost-effective, cutting-edge microchips for devices like computers, cellphones, televisions, and even household appliances.

The automotive industry generally uses older chips because they are more reliable,” Fiorani said. “But they’re not as valuable to chipmakers. They cost less to produce and make less profit.

The situation has relegated automakers to the back of the microchip supply chain, causing long delays for small parts.

In some cases, if the missing chip is part of a bonus, the vehicle can be assembled and sold as is and upgraded later. Other chips are needed to sell the car, but the whole vehicle can be built and the missing chip added later, just before it is sold.

But in cases where the chip is integrated into a part of the vehicle that cannot be easily accessed or upgraded after assembly, a missing microchip can halt production.

We are seeing assembly lines closing everywhere because of this issue,” Fiorani said.

The problem doesn’t seem to be getting any better despite the improvements in recent months.

Even if supply chain bottlenecks dissipate and new chip manufacturing facilities slowly come online, experts say it could be years before the auto industry comes to life. restore.

This hurts the automaker’s Canadian production _ as well as workers and consumers in this country.

Due to the unprecedented global shortage of microchips, there has been an impact on production at the Windsor and Brampton assembly plants over the past two years,” said LouAnn Gosselin, spokesperson for Stellantis Canada, which makes vehicles like the Chrysler Pacifica and the Dodge Charger.

But the industry-wide problem isn’t unique to Stellantis.

Honda Canada spokesman John Bordignon said important global issues are always “an integral part of the new vehicle availability and delivery process.”

We continue to experience the international impact of COVID-19 and accompanying protocols, shipping and logistics delays, microchip shortages and other supply chain disruptions,” he said. he stated in an email.

Delivery can and certainly has been delayed due to these circumstances. We hope to see this situation improve in the coming months, but we remain in the middle of it.

Toyota Canada spokesman Michael Bouliane said the company has been impacted by global supply chain challenges affecting the entire automotive industry.

Our teams are working diligently to minimize the impact on production, but these delays, combined with continued high demand for our vehicles, have resulted in longer than usual wait times for the delivery of certain models to our dealerships. and customers,” he said in a statement. E-mail.

The delays have trickled down to car buyers, with some being told the specific model and trim they want will take years to arrive.

This is a situation that Charles Chittick knows well.

He placed an order for a new plug-in hybrid vehicle in the spring of 2021. When a vehicle finally arrived a year later, it was the wrong trim and color, and another $7,500 for bells and whistles. which he didn’t want.

“I was dumb enough to decline because the dealership expected more and I was first on the list,” Chittick said in an interview from Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

“I thought, ‘They’ve got one, it’s a big dealership, there’s sure to be more to come. That was a big mistake.’

The dealership received only one of the five Toyota RAV4 Prime vehicles allocated to it for the whole year, he said.

Now Chittick said he was told he first received an item in late December – nearly 21 months after placing his order.

This time, if he arrives as expected, he takes no risks.

“It’s $4,000 more than the original cost and it’s not the color we want, but we’ll go with it.”

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