Youngstown-area car dealers discuss impact of new vehicle shortage

Local News

(WKBN) – The severity of the shortage of new vehicles on lots around Youngstown was made clear on Wednesday when the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers Association released its sales figures for October.

New auto sales, when compared with last October, were down 43 percent while sales of used vehicles were down 2.5 percent.

On Thursday, we talked with two auto dealers to see how their businesses are fairing.

“I mean, there’s so few out there, we’ll take whatever we can get,” said John Kufleitner.

Kufleitner’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership in Boardman was built to stock 700 to 800 new vehicles. On Thursday, there were 125 which, compared to other dealers, isn’t bad.

“I mean, you look at some dealers, if they have five new cars on the ground, that’s brutal. That’s tough, right?” Kufleitner said.

In October, Kufleitner sold 105 new vehicles — more than any other Youngstown area dealership and just 11 fewer than October of last year. Some new car dealerships, though, were down 130 vehicles.

“Yeah, it’s tough but at the same time cars are in and out so fast that we’re able to keep our expenses down. So we’re not really where we want to be but we’re definitely not bleeding to death either,” Kufleitner said.

“And we get leads from people trying to sell their cars,” said Chris Haus.

Four miles away, Haus sells used cars at Haus Auto Group. His lot was full on Thursday.

“We have no issues with getting inventory because we’re not relying on a manufacturer to give us cars,” Haus said.

Haus says he gets most of his inventory from people who drive in, looking to sell.

“We buy about 80 percent of them off of the general public — personal vehicles — and we haven’t even had to go to auction much because a lot of people are selling their vehicles because they’re now worth a little bit more than they were before,” Haus said.

We asked Haus if the lack of inventory at new car dealers was helping him.

“I don’t know. Like I said, our sales year to date are pretty on par to what they were from ’19,” Haus said.

Kufleitner also says another reason there are empty spaces on his lot is that a lot of vehicles nowadays never make it to the lot. More people than ever are buying them, sight unseen, as they’re being shipped.

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