Car Parts Shortage Leaves Drivers In Limbo As Makers ‘Put Sales First’

Car Parts Shortage Leaves Drivers In Limbo As Makers ‘Put Sales First’

Motorists are waiting months for repairs, or having cars written off, because replacement parts apparently cannot be found. But are they just being fobbed off?

t was a snowy day in early March when Ruth Joad pranged her car. The one-year-old Volkswagen needed a new bumper and sensors. Her insurer, Aviva, told her to book it into an approved dealership – and that’s where it’s been ever since.

“Four months on, there’s still no update on when they’ll have the bumper,” she says. “It took three months for Aviva to get me a courtesy car, and when I call for updates I’m sent round in circles.”

The Company Apologised And Paid Compensation

Late last week, after queries from the Observer, Aviva said the part had finally arrived and her repair had been prioritised. The company apologised and paid compensation.

Joad is one of thousands of drivers left in limbo because of a global shortage of car parts. Insurers are writing off vehicles because of indefinite repair delays, according to the National Body Repair Association, which estimates that drivers are having to wait five weeks longer than the pre-pandemic average to book cars in.

Several who have contacted the Observer have been forced off the road for months with no update on when their vehicle can be repaired. A shortage of courtesy cars, caused by the same manufacturing issues, means those in rural areas are effectively immobilised.

Car manufacturers blame Covid and the invasion of Ukraine for disrupting global supply chains. Two-thirds of vehicle components are produced in China and the Middle East, where lockdowns hit supply and demand, while Ukraine is critical in the manufacture of semiconductors. Added to this, there’s a Europe-wide shortage of mechanics and HGV drivers to install and transport the parts from the Website sierraauto page article

However, our investigation suggests some drivers are being fobbed off by manufacturers who are prioritising sales over repairs. Several readers who had waited months because a crucial part could not be sourced found it could be summoned as soon as we questioned the delays.

Mark Ellis was left with an unroadworthy Mercedes for seven months after a headlamp unit failed, leaving him without lights or indicators. “The dealer ordered a replacement last October and, come May, could give me no date on when it might become available,” he says. “Raising a complaint to Mercedes-Benz UK customer services yielded no response. Without lights, it couldn’t pass its MOT.”