Car manufacturers are reassuring customers over supply of plug-in hybrids following reports that orders for some models have been cancelled.
It was reported last week that BMW’s new plug-in hybrid version of the 3 Series, the 330e, has already reached its UK allocation of 2,500 units for 2016, and some customers who believed they had placed orders for cars have now been told the car is sold out.
According to posts on the Pistonheads forum, one customer said: “I’ve had the dreaded phone call from the leasing company and I am one of those who has had the order cancelled.
“They mentioned they have about 65 orders that have been cancelled by BMW. I asked for alternatives and I was told most PHEV cars have really long lead times including the Mercedes-Benz C350e, expected delivery about July/August.”
BMW admitted it was experiencing high demand for the 330e, but two other plug-in hybrid cars recently introduced – the X5 xDrive40e SUV and 225xe MPV – were not subject to the same pressures.
Demand for all plug-in hybrids in the UK has been accelerated by changes to the plug-in car grant from March. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced in his spending review in December that the maximum grant would be cut to £4,500, and some plug-in vehicles would only be eligible for a £2,500 grant.
Plug-in hybrids with prices exceeding £60,000 would no longer be eligible for help.
However, Mitsubishi has said it can meet demand for its Outlander PHEV and although popular, faces no such restriction.
The Outlander PHEV achieved more than 10,000 registrations in its first 12 months on sale and hot almost 12,000 registrations during 2015.
The car, which underwent a facelift in October 2015, continues to be in demand among company car drivers, but the company says lead times remain consistent, and some vehicles can be procured from stock.
Toby Marshall, sales and marketing director, said: ‘We are having many more enquires than usual, as buyers are looking to order their Outlander PHEV before the grant reduces. Dealers are reporting a huge increase in interest and website traffic is higher than ever. That said we do have the vehicles in stock to satisfy demand.’
Volkswagen, which launched the Golf GTE in 2015 and is about to open order books or the Passat GTE, said although demand had outstripped supply for the Golf, it has secured additional production for the UK in 2016 with a typical lead time of 15 weeks.