Chip shortage drives continued supply issue for car dealers

Dealerships have extremely low inventory and there’s no end in sight for when it will improve
Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 11:13 AM EDT
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SYLVANIA, Ohio (WTVG) - Summer months are typically a busy time for dealerships. This year, the buyers are out there but there are no vehicles. There is an ongoing semiconductor chip shortage that is causing a lack of inventory across the country. The problem means empty lots for local dealers and a lack of options for buyers.

Joe Mehling is the executive manager at Dave White Chevrolet on Monroe Street. He says he’s never seen anything like this in his 35 years in the business.

“This time of year I would normally have 350-400 Chevy’s on the ground and I have 27,” says Mehling.

The crunch has dealers in limbo, wondering when they will get new cars, trucks, and SUVs on the lot to sell. Instead, the shortage is changing how some people buy cars. Mehling says he is seeing more people come into the dealership and order exactly what they want and then wait for it to arrive. Delivery dates for orders can be anywhere from 6 weeks to a few months. The uncertainty of the semiconductor chips is also driving the used car business.

Dealers are paying a premium to stock their lots with used vehicles.

“If you have a nice used car and you want to get another car and we have it, you’re in a really good spot,” says Mehling.

As for when this issue could subside, it’s anyone’s guess. Mehling says dealers are hopeful they could see more product on the lots by August but realistically think it might be into the winter months of January and February before inventory starts to roll again.

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