JAKARTA, May 28 (Jakarta Post/ANN): Thirty-one-year-old Lukman from the East Java city of Malang was puzzled when many dealers told him last week that it would take three months to deliver the motorcycle model of his choice.
Normally, delivery would take less than a month, often just a week, after the down payment was made. As a way out, one dealer suggested that he pick a model from the available stock, which he declined.
One salesperson showed him a circular from the producer, informing local dealers to expect longer delivery times from the central manufacturing hub due to spiking demand.
All motorcycle types within the brand are affected, including the one Lukman is looking to buy.
Relying on ride-hailing services to get around, Lukman figured that owning a bike himself would save him money.
“I felt hopeless”, he recalled when speaking to The Jakarta Post on May 22, explaining that up until that point he had been unable to find one without a three-month delivery period.
Luckily, a colleague had then introduced him to a local salesperson who managed to secure one faster. Lukman quickly made a down payment on May 21, after being promised that his motorcycle would arrive within two weeks.
Suci, 21, an employee from Bogor, West Java, was not so lucky. She was desperately in need of a new motorcycle after hers suddenly broke down.
Between April 20 and 23, she visited three dealers in her area and struck a deal with one of them for a model of her preferred type and color, which was supposed to arrive in five days.
However, on day four, the salesperson called her to explain that they were out of stock. He gave her two options: Wait three months or pick a different color, which she then did.
Suci told the Post that this had never happened before and that her first motorcycle had been delivered in a day.
Adit, an employee from Serang, Banten, had been promised a two-month delivery time for a scooter that only arrived earlier this month – four months after he had made the down payment.
He told the Post on Tuesday: “I almost wanted to back down from the purchase, but my wife wanted it so badly”.
Many other customers face the same difficulties in obtaining vehicles considered essential in Indonesia, where the number of two-wheelers far exceeds that of cars.
On Twitter, dozens have vented their frustration, while some have used the social media platform to complain to producers.
Sigit Kumala, who heads the commerce division at the Indonesian Motorcycle Industry Association (AISI), said producers were unable to keep up with increasing demand as they were in short supply of microchips, most of which are sourced from Taiwan, the United States and Japan.
Sigit said the long waiting times were the result of reduced semiconductor supply. He expressed the hope that the situation would improve at least to some extent in June or July.
“We can't keep up with the rising demand. We are sorry [for our customers]. This is a global problem, other electronic products face the same problem,” Sigit told the Post on Monday.
Abrar Aulia, an analyst for the textile, automotive and steel industries at state-owned lender Bank Mandiri, said on Monday that the Covid-19 pandemic had led to a drop in demand for many goods, prompting the automotive and other industries to scale back production, which in turn had affected demand for components, including semiconductors.
The increased use of consumer electronics as people spent more time at home during the pandemic compounded the issue by driving up demand for semiconductors.
As industry recovered when pandemic-related restrictions were lifted, chip producers were unable to keep up with the rapid demand rise, leaving industries like the automotive sector in short supply.
The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said in a 2020 report that lockdowns had also led to production shutdowns in some countries. The same is still true in China today as the country pursues a zero-Covid policy.
Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers Association (Gaikindo) secretary-general Kukuh Kumara said on Monday that the semiconductor shortage affected the automobile industry on top of other prolonged supply chain problems, like a shortage of shipping containers.
He acknowledged longer delivery times to consumers for some car variants but said the situation was still manageable. The association is holding to its 2022 forecast of selling more than 900,000 cars.
“We will strive to keep up with the demand. We have to respond to this increase,” Kukuh told the Post.
Automotive industry expert Bebin Djuana warned that a prolonged semiconductor shortage might disrupt the automotive industry recovery in Indonesia should producers suffer significant losses in sales for being unable to keep up with demand.
“I hope it doesn't come to that. Even if it does happen, I hope the drop will not be too big,” Bebin told the Post on Monday. - Jakarta Post/ANN