We’ve been here before, except last time it was toilet paper and hand sanitizer: Today’s shortage is new cars, and the impact on consumers is far greater than hours-long checkout lines or upset shoppers in grocery store parking lots. Dealers simply don’t have enough cars to sell, prices are higher than ever and there are surprisingly few incentives to help defray the cost of a new auto purchase. According to Kelley Blue Book, in June 2021, the estimated U.S. average transaction price for a light vehicle was $42,258. That’s an increase of over $2,500 (6.4%) from a year ago.
Thousands of half-built cars sit in parking lots around the nation, silently awaiting chips. The natural order of things has yet again been turned upside-down courtesy of COVID-19—there’s a persistent microchip shortage and sky-high used vehicle prices. Who in the world would buy a car in a “new normal” like this?
Many people, as it turns out. There are customers coming to the end of their leases, those who simply need vehicles and many who are taking advantage of increased trade-in values to upgrade their vehicle. There’s also the burgeoning electric vehicle market that seems to (finally) have some sales momentum.
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