“If a customer walks into a dealership and they don’t have the exact car they want, dealers are able to do swaps, right throughout Australia, to try and get customers into cars as soon as possible.
“We try to help source cars for customers. We encourage swaps at the national and regional levels. We have a couple of people working on this almost full-time.”
When it comes to waiting lists, no one tops Ferrari. A long-term company policy of building one car fewer than the company can sell, and the quality of its current line-up, means super-long lead times for owners.
“For the 488 Coupe and Spider, on average, it’s about one-and-a-half years, but it can stretch out to two years,” says Ferrari Australia boss Herbert Appleroth.
“The F12 is well into next year, so that’s well over six months. The California convertible is over six months too, so that’s a problem for us. It’s the car that people come to from other brands.
“These are people who are not used to waiting, so it is a bit of a problem. We’re doing the best we can to get more cars here in Australia.”
But Ferrari buyers are well treated while they’re waiting, with among other things an exact scale replica of their coming car — down to body colour, interior trim and the chassis number — as a predelivery gift.
They also get an individual landing page on the company’s website, so they can track progress.
Cashed-up Ferrari buyers are often able to make things even more special.
“We’re doing the best we can to get more cars here,” Appleroth says. “We encourage our customers to have a Ferrari experience.
“Over 250 buyers from Australia go to Maranello every year — that’s a huge number. Everyone can see their car being built.
“Even if they cannot attend they can see it over the web on their landing page.
“It’s the same as a baby. Ninemonth gestation, then being born, it’s a similar process.” JOHN, from Sydney, is red-hot keen on a BMW M2. But he has run into all sorts of trouble on delivery dates, even after paying a cash deposit.
“The dealer can’t confirm dates. Or even that I’m actually going to get a car,” he says.
Having approached another dealer and talked to BMW Australia, he discovered there are so many M2 orders that the local HQ is allocating to dealers only when it gets confirmation from Germany on the exact numbers being built for Australia and their shipping date.
So John must wait. With his fingers crossed.
Tomas, from Melbourne, thinks the Mercedes-Benz GLC will be ideal for his family.
But the variant and colour and trim combination he wants is one of the most popular.
“I’ve been told that it will probably be March next year, or even later,” he says.
Yet by spending a little more, he can leap into the new GLC Coupe instead of the wagon, as there are cars in floor stocks at some dealers. “Now I’m not sure. I might even decide to get a C-Class Coupe instead,” he says.
Queenslander Derek is a long-time ute buyer who likes the look of the Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
“I’m a painter so I need a ute for work, but I also like to drive. I’ve had a couple of Falcon XR utes,” he says. “At the moment I’m driving a Ranger, but I’m thinking about moving up to the Wildtrak.”
But the waiting list is putting him off and there is a big outlay with no delivery guarantee.
“Dealers around my way are not particularly helpful. It seems like they can sell every Wildtrak they get without doing any work,” he says.