MINOT—There’s plenty of space on automotive dealer lots these days as car buyers and dealerships cope with a shortage of both new and used vehicles.
“It’s a weird time. I don’t know how long it’s going to keep on.” Bill Fielhaber, Coach & Four Quality Cars
“It’s a weird time. I don’t know how long it’s going to keep on,” said Bill Fielhaber, Coach & Four Quality Cars in Minot. “Prices have gone up.”
The shortage of vehicles has its roots at the start of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic almost two years ago. While many factors can affect the automotive industry, one of the most notable today is the shortage of computer chips necessary for new vehicles to operate.
COVID-19 layoff of workers, particularly in China which produces the bulk of automotive computer chips for the United States, has caused major delays in supply. With fewer new cars available on dealer lots, many people chose to purchase used cars. That surge was one of the factors pushing used car prices to new highs.
National figures show the average used car price to be more than $29,000, an increase of more than 40% from when the pandemic began. The average new vehicle price is upwards of $45,000, but even those willing to pay the price may not find their chosen vehicle due to delivery shortages.
“I think we’re all short of inventory.” Fielhaber
“It’s true. I think we’re all short of inventory,” said Fielhaber. “It’s our slower time of the year, but we normally have 30 or more cars in stock. Right now we’re down to 18 or 19.”
Some national sources report that the rate of increase in price for new and used cars is slowing down a bit, but not so much as to indicate a reversal in the coming months. Other forecasters say the trend could continue well into 2022 and beyond.