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COVID-19 creating a new vehicle shortage


“We’re gonna run out of vehicles, so to say it may not be here tomorrow is a reality, and we just can’t go out tomorrow and find another one as quickly as we could, let’s say two months ago,” said Puklich Chevrolet General Manager Steve Zaun.

North Dakota is truck country, more specifically, heavy duty truck country.

But getting that next truck is getting harder, and could remain that way for months, thanks to the coronavirus.

When the country shut down last month, so did the big three auto manufactures of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

But around the same time, they began offering zero-percent financing for up to 84 months plus payment deferrals for up to 120 days, and it’s worked well, almost too well.

Ryan Barth is Vice Chairman is the North Dakota Automobile Dealers Association and GM of Bill Barth Ford in Mandan. He says their inventory is getting thin.

“Explorers, edge’s Super Duty’s those particular lines, those, we’ll be out of first, and I could see where it might be maybe a month where we don’t even have a super duty on the lot to sell, unfortunately,” said Barth.

He adds they’ve had to get creative with how they park vehicles on their lot to eat up more space, because aesthetics are important too, as a customer is less likely to stop if the lot looks empty.

And it’s no different for General Motors. Over at Puklich Chevrolet in Bismarck they too are down to just a handful of heavy-duty Silverado’s and Tahoe’s.

“Silverado Pickup is our big market. We got the light-duty half-tons, we normally have a hundred on the ground. We’re down to 14 or 13 I think as of Saturday. We’ll probably run out of pickups, literally within a couple weeks here,” said Zaun.

And once that happens, customers who order a new vehicle from the factory will be waiting a while.

“A year ago we were saying we could probably have your vehicle in six to eight weeks, now it might be three to five months. We don’t really know, a lot of unknowns right now,” said Zaun.

“So Ford opened their plant up last week, and they basically told us that they’re filling sold orders and previous orders first, so anything we order now probably won’t show up until closer to August, at the earliest,” said Barth.

And it’s just not getting new vehicles on the lot, servicing older ones is getting difficult…

“Even getting parts into our parts department is a challenge because some truckers aren’t driving, some trucking companies don’t wanna truck, so that’s changed our world as well,” said Zahn.

He adds it’s also getting harder to do a dealer trades because the two sides can’t agree on a trade thanks to the limited selection one side may have.

So get to your dealer soon, or you may be stuck in our old ride for longer than you think.

KX News did reach out to Eide Chrysler for comment on Ram Truck inventory but did not get a response back in time for this story.

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