Quad bikes are currently in such short supply, dealerships are demanding deposits on machines at unknown prices that won't be delivered won't arrive for 10 months and manufacturers are calling out reassurances of continued availability in Australia based on the Israeli experience as "flat out not true".
Marriotts MPE principal Tim Marriott said about 30 of his customers placed orders in "a couple of days" after his Leongatha dealership sent out a text message created by Suzuki.
"The highly sought after Suzuki Kingquad 500 and 750 power steer models require a forward order as stock will be very hard to come by," the text said.
"Pricing has not been decided but will be competitive."
The message said orders had to be placed by June 25 for a shipment in April next year.
"This will be your last chance to get your hands on a new Suzuki ATV due to pressure from the government and the ACCC," it said.
The government has mandated a new safety standard overseen by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that includes labelling requirements, stability tests and the fitting of operator protection devices (OPD) like the Quadbar.
READ MORE: How to stop the quad deaths
As well as Suzuki, Marriotts MPE stocks Polaris and Can-Am and Mr Marriott said quads right across the spectrum were difficult to source.
"I don't think any of them have got any stock at all," he said.
"Can-Am have got a very small, handful of stock.
"It's all sort of spread out, you know, fives and 10s coming in over the next few months."
Mr Marriott said factories had struggled to maintain production due to the pandemic, while farmers who'd had a good season were keen to spend before the end of the financial year.
The announcements from manufacturers had also had an impact.
"Farmers are also keen to secure a bike because having them not being available is going to make it fairly difficult for a lot of them to run their farms," he said.
"Side by sides will take over a lot of the work on the farm but they won't do everything the quad's doing."
Honda Australia general manager motorcycles Tony Hinton confirmed it had been a combination of factors that had dirven short supplies.
"This is probably the highest demand that I've seen in my 20 years at this time of the year," he said.
"We did not see this level of demand coming through in our planning.
"The majority of these products come from America, so if we order the product today, it actually doesn't arrive here for seven months."
Retiring Honda Australia managing director Robert Toscano said while the company was doing everything it could to bring extra quad bikes into the country to satisfy demand now, it would taper off orders around the end of next financial year.
"Effectively the drop dead date for ATVs is 11 October 2021, when we need to be absolutely certain that that we have no stock at all, so we need to start winding down to be really safe," he said.
"Anything that's left we have to re-export, we can't sell it or dispose of it in any way.
"I think we're going to be super careful, stock won't be available right up until the 11th of October 2021 - after June next year, we will be winding our stock right back to take us to zero."
Despite that, ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh echoed assurances given by the National Farmers Federation that quad bikes would continue to be available.
"I'm not sure about no longer getting access to the quad bikes, we already have indication from two manufacturers that quad bikes compliant with both the tilt and the rollover protection provisions of the code are released or will be released very shortly," Mr Keogh said.
"And we're also aware in the situation in Israel where the major manufacturers withdrew, arrangements very quickly came into place to parallel import the same products and install the safety standard protection device on them and make them available in the market. So that has already been observed in relation to the Israeli market where rollover protection is mandatory."
The only manufacturer that has publicly confirmed it will continue to supply the Australian market is CF Moto and Yamaha Australia director Brad Ryan disputed the ACCC's view of the Israeli market.
"We've been licensed to sell utility ATVs without OPDs in Israel since 2014," he said.
"The whole Israel thing is propaganda told to the ACCC by an OPD manufacturer to further their cause, and the ACCC seems to have just accepted it without checking. It's flat out not true."
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