A nationwide issue is hitting close to home. Local car and RV dealerships are struggling with inventory more than a year after the start of the pandemic.
“Our inventory is very, very depleted,” said Shawn Weekes, a New Car Manager at Kramer Chevrolet.
“There’s all kinds of little train wrecks occurring, whether it’s material, employees. There’s all kinds of different things happening right now,” said Jim Miller, Owner of Riverwood RV.
Local dealerships tell us semiconductor shortages are a major part of the problem. These chips are essential to car manufacturing.
“I do have quite a few vehicles that have been produced. They’re just waiting for that microchip to get in. I would say at this point, on the lot itself, we have somewhere right around 20 units. Typically we would have anywhere between 200 and 250 new units on the lot.” said Weekes.
At the beginning of the pandemic, assembly plants started to shut down, so car manufacturers cut back on chip orders. Now that vaccines are being distributed and global markets are opening back up, we’re seeing a major kink in the supply chain.
“It’s kind of funny because my wife and I just got into a new suburban. People are coming in and wanting to drive them. Well, unfortunately, we don’t have any on the lots, just because they are such a hot item. I’ve actually had to contact my wife to come in and people will take our vehicle for a drive,” said Weekes.
President Joe Biden addressed this issue again early last week and says efforts to produce the chip in the United States should soon be underway.
“I received a letter from 23 senators, bipartisan, and 42 house members — Republican and Democrats, supporting the Chips for America Program. China and the rest of the world is not waiting, and there is no reason why America should wait,” said Biden.
Miller tells us people are also changing their vacationing habits. Between 40 and 50 percent of their customers are first-time buyers.
“There is a pretty high uptick in the number of campers being ordered. People are staying local. They’re not traveling as much, maybe going to Florida or overseas or what have you. They’re sticking around home. Their budgets are being allocated to campers and dong family things closer to home,” said Miller.
“It’s opened up a lot of people’s eyes on different aspects of the business, and I think it’s going to make things a lot better for the future,” said Weekes.
Despite the many bumps in the road, sellers say people should still come in to buy, but to keep in mind there may be a delay.
Biden’s remarks on the chip shortage last week have led to auto manufacturers and tech companies announcing plans to soon start manufacturing chips in their U.S. factories.