Devastating flooding in Queensland and New South Wales has resulted in almost 22,000 motor vehicle insurance claims to date – at a time when record stock shortages and waiting lists are already making it very tough to take timely delivery of a new car.

    Figures provided to CarExpert by the Insurance Council of Australia show 11,007 claims have been lodged (as of Tuesday) in NSW and a further 10,637 in Queensland. We wouldn’t expect all of these to be write-offs in need of replacement, but many will be, and the list will grow.

    Then there’s the damage to multiple car dealerships and their damaged stock.

    From the motor industry perspective, it is another blow for Australian consumers hoping to buy a new car. Buyers already face average wait times of six-or-more months for many of the top-selling brands such as Toyota (longer than year a year in some cases) due to ongoing semiconductor chip shortages, supply chain snags exacerbated by COVID, and Ukraine.

    According to the industry’s sales data, the average monthly new car sales totals in NSW and Queensland this year are around 24,700 and 17,700 respectively, meaning the total numbers of submitted claims will have a sizeable extra impact on these demand and supply discrepancies.

    In short, people needing a new car might find themselves unable to physically get their hands on one. It’ll also contribute to driving used car prices further above their current record highs – a result of steep demand growth due to said new vehicle shortages.

    “They’re disastrous [these floods], and this will put extra demand in the system that’s struggling to meet supply,” Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries CEO Tony Weber told us.

    “This exacerbates a problem not easily resolved… It’s the first time in my memory when we have talked about supply and not demand,” he added.

    MORE: Running list of cars with spec changes, due to chip shortage
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    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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