Toyota Australia says the global shortage of semiconductors severely affecting the automotive industry is not having a material impact on the company’s production output.

Speaking to the media at the launch of the new Kluger this week, Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, said delays in models like the RAV4 and HiLux were more to do with “extraordinary demand” than a semiconductor shortage.

“Due to forward planning, the supply of semiconductors is not the issue for Toyota as it is for other companies, particularly in Europe,” Mr Hanley said.

“Our parent company learnt a lot when its supply chain was destroyed following the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. As a result they now regularly examine multiple tiers of suppliers discovering at an early stage which supplies and parts are at risk.

“Our global purchasing group communicates up to 10 times a day when parts supply is severely tight and this allowed us to secure inventory for semiconductors months in advance.”

Nonetheless, with up to six-month waits for a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and a near three-month wait for the Toyota HiLux (two of the top-three best-selling cars in the country), there is clearly an issue of supply and demand.

“At the moment largely any delay we have in any vehicle delivery is brought about with extraordinary demand right now, we are managing that,” Mr Hanley told CarExpert.

“We have great support from our parent company, we are in contact every day about getting more supply and of course we are always looking for better ways and better solutions, that will never stop.

But in the meantime our focus right now is to manage our Toyota customers one by one in order to stay engaged and explain to them what is happening with their car to enhance that experience.”

According to Mr Hanley, demand for the Toyota RAV4 has remained as strong today as when the car launched in May 2019. It will be at least the better part of the remainder of 2021 before that six-month wait list comes down to a more reasonable three months, the company says.

Even so, Toyota’s self-reporting cancellation rates for its RAV4 or HiLux show no ‘alarming trends’ according to Mr Hanley, suggesting that buyers are willing to wait for the Toyota they have ordered.

Alborz Fallah

Alborz is the founder of CarAdvice (sold to Nine and now Drive) and co-founder of CarExpert. He is an honourary adjunct professor & entrepreneur in residence at the University of QLD. He loves naturally-aspirated V8s, V10s and V12s and is in denial about the impending death of the internal combustion engine.

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