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Delays in vehicle body repairs are expected to continue in coming months. Picture: REUTERS
Delays in vehicle body repairs are expected to continue in coming months. Picture: REUTERS
Image: Workshop

Short-term insurer Santam has warned that clients could experience delays in the repair of damaged motor vehicles over the coming months due to a global shortage in parts. The supply-chain challenges also affect the availability of electronic and other related equipment or materials.

“Over the past two years, the motor industry has been hit by multiple challenges, with the global demand and supply of motor vehicles, related parts and services being affected. SA’s situation is not exclusive,” said Ebrahim Asmal, Santam’s executive head of group sourcing.

“Multiple factors, that include back orders from Covid-19, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the recent flood damage to vehicle-manufacturing facilities and [the] harbour in KwaZulu-Natal, including the international lockdowns in China and Taiwan, which are two major parts-manufacturing countries, have all come together to worsen supply constraints,” he said. 

Logistics services have been severely disrupted and remained constrained, with the cost for these services increasing massively since 2020.

“At Santam, we are actively engaging with a myriad of industry stakeholders, including vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEM), OEM parts dealerships and other suppliers, to find solutions to assist our clients.

The SA Motor Body Repairers’ Association (Sambra) issued a similar cautionary to motorists in April, saying collision-damage repairs may be delayed due to the acute shortage of motor-body repair components.

Uvashen Bramiah, national director of Sambra, says the association will continue to liaise closely with insurers and OEMs across all vehicle brands on the status of certain critical parts, and wherever possible, would repair rather than replace the part in question. 

“Fortunately, developments in repair technology have advanced substantially over the recent years, significantly improving the ability of accredited Sambra members to repair metal and plastic panels on a motor vehicle,” he says.

Megan Naiker, sales, marketing and product executive for Motus Aftermarket Parts, says that the motor-body repairs (MBR) sector is the most affected, relying primarily on body panel and lighting parts from China and Taiwan, which have experienced the largest delays.

The shortages are not as pronounced in the servicing sector. The aftermarket has successfully managed to source alternative suppliers for these parts, which encompass shocks and brakes and internal combustion parts, for example.

“We have secured a number of excellent local suppliers as well as quality suppliers in Europe [that] are helping to ease the current disruption,” says Naiker. 

Michael Da Paixao, AutoZone merchandise and marketing executive, says that to negate some of the effect, they are placing forward orders aligned to the longer lead times. He also emphasises that shortages are not across all parts, but more so from selected countries, towns/factories and componentry. “We see these shortages still continuing when it comes to some componentry like specialised raw materials and chips,” says Da Paixao.

Filum Ho, CEO of Autoboys, says that demand in most areas has picked up and the problem now is less a production problem and more of a logistics issue.

The jury seems out on when the situation will stabilise. Da Paixao believes we should see a recovery at the end of the first quarter of 2023.

Multiple factors have caused backlogs in vehicle components, including Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine. Picture: REUTERS
Multiple factors have caused backlogs in vehicle components, including Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine. Picture: REUTERS
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