Automakers began to feel the effects this spring of a global shortage of computer chips, which plagued the inventories of local car dealers.
Dealers believe inventory will increase over the next two months, but not to levels seen before the shortage.
The shortage of chips, used in cars as well as in computers and other products, has been caused by global demand for electronics that has intensified due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as issues with the supply chain to get the chips to industries that need them.
According to Goldman Sachs, 169 US industries incorporate semiconductors into their products. The bank predicts an average 20% shortage of computer chips among affected industries, with some of the components used to make chips in short supply until at least this fall and possibly until 2022.
General manager Tom Stegeman said stocks at Joe Machens Capital City Ford in Jefferson City were at their lowest levels he had seen in more than 20 years of working there.
“Not only did we have a shortage of chips, but during the pandemic, automakers shut down for three to four months, which meant millions of cars were not produced,” Stegeman said. “The good news is that Ford has said it is no longer planning plant closures and that all factories are resuming production. By the end of the year, we should be close to the level of stocks we had at the end of 2020. ”
At Jefferson City Honda on Missouri Boulevard, general manager AJ Giblin said the stock of new cars is lighter than usual, but that they’ve managed to maintain their stock “fairly well,” with more than 200 cars running. used in stock.
“Car values have risen over the past six months, and while July may be tight again on new car inventory, we are looking for things to pick up in August and September,” Giblin said.
“We’re still selling vehicles, but our inventory is down on new vehicles,” said Kevin Riley, owner of Riley Chevrolet and Riley Toyota on Christy Drive. “We have sources for buying used cars, and we have a good selection there.”
Riley said their new vehicle sales were primarily vehicle pre-sales. If someone has an idea of what they’re looking for, sales staff can see what’s available in Chevrolet stock, and if that doesn’t match the customer’s needs, they can pre-order a vehicle for when it’s needed. will be in stock.
“This led to the instant demise of most of our new cars,” Riley said. “That’s why we can’t exhibit more new vehicles, because it’s difficult to get inventory. We can meet the needs of the customers, but they may have to wait longer to get what they want.
Stegeman said the Ford dealership was giving an extra discount to those who order a vehicle instead of taking one out of the bundle.
“For people looking to remove a vehicle from the parking lot, this might not be their first choice, so if they can’t find what they’re looking for there, they can save a lot by doing it this way. “, did he declare. “Now is the right time to order a car. The chips are starting to pour in, and probably within the next 90-120 days, factories should take over the backlog. “
If demand remains at its current rate, Riley said he doesn’t expect the inventory of new vehicles to be replenished until early next year.
“It will just take a while, and when you look at what we’re going through, it could be worse – we could be recovering after being hit by a tornado,” he said, referring to the recent reopening of the Chevrolet location of the dealership after it took a direct hit in the May 2019 tornado.