How the pandemic has interrupted new vehicle sales


It's affected dealerships differently

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The tiny computer chip inside most vehicles handles many electrical needs. Now, there’s a shortage and it’s impacting sales.

“It’s really the processing brain of the vehicle, and so without the microchip, the car can’t function,” said Jeff Hammond, new vehicle manager at Columbiana Ford.

Things such as digital speed-odometers or touch screens on the dash all run from the microchip. Lately, there has been a shortage of microchips for vehicles, and the shortage can be traced back to the pandemic.

“Through the pandemic, people were working from home, kids were at home, the demand for these semi-conductors was very high. Naturally, that led to a shortage,” said Josh Kufleitner, with Boardman Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram.

It’s affected dealerships differently. Kufleitner says his dealership hasn’t been affected. They are still getting what they need.

“As of this morning, we still had 428 new cars on the ground, and we’ve got another 1,200 in the pipeline,” he said.

Hammond said they have noticed the microchip shortage issue impacting new vehicle inventory but says used car sales have increased.

“Every other dealership in the country is pursuing used cars, so that’s driven the price up and they’re hard to get,” Hammond said.

And if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you might not want to be picky.

“It’s hard to come by the new. It’s trucks, SUVs, cars,’ Hammond said.

Dealers say it is rare for a microchip to go bad once it is already in the car.

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