9 Sep 2020

US pandemic crisis stalls delivery of quad bikes for NZ farmers

4:17 pm on 9 September 2020

Covid-19 has hit the farming community in an unexpected way: it is drying up the supply of farm vehicles such as quad bikes.

Quad bike, quad bikes

Most major brands are affected by the shortage of parts for assembling their quad bikes. Photo: 123RF

That is because factories that assemble them in the United States have had their production disrupted by the virus April.

Even where a factory has continued assembling the vehicles, vital spare parts have often been held up when the coronavirus has hit outsourced supply companies, meaning the final product cannot be completed because one vital component is missing.

"Sometimes, we are a month behind waiting for the stock to come in," said dealer Blair Howden of Winton Motorcycles in Southland.

"We are running out of the most popular models - we have been waiting for nearly two months for one of our most fast moving models."

Howden said most major brands were affected in some way including Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha.

Most quad bikes are assembled in the US for tax reasons, even if they are Japanese in origin.

Suzuki New Zealand marketing manager Simon Meade explained further.

"The bikes are what we call ckd - completely knocked down - and they are put together in America.

"They rely on part components for that production and that production is (often) not taking place or is taking place later than it should.

"The net result is that production is delayed, deferred or postponed .... and there is less stock available."

Meade added there was another problem.

Looming new safety laws in Australia had led to a buying frenzy as people tried to get new farm vehicles ahead of the deadline.

This had increased demand at the same time as supply is shrinking.

Howden added that freight rates for some imported farm vehicles had risen by 30 percent.

This would add to the final cost of the farm machine.

Neither Howden nor Meade has any idea how long this supply problem will last.

Meanwhile, dealers continue to find quad bikes to supply to their customers, even if they are not the preferred brand.

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