YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. — Parts shortages and supply chain issues are making it harder for local dealerships to get ahold of new inventory and for customers to get the car they want quickly.
Jim Peterson, who owns Lee Peterson Motors of Yakima, said the biggest issue for them is the significant delays in getting a customer’s car from where it’s built, into the lot.
“Everything’s delayed: shipments are delayed, product availability is delayed … everything from microchips to parts, accessories, you name it,” Peterson said.
Peterson said that means they have fewer cars sitting in their lot and customers are often having to wait for their vehicles to be built and shipped to the dealership.
“Some models, the wait can be as long as six months,” Peterson said. “Some models, three months.”
Peterson said the low supply and high demand is driving the cost up for consumers, especially for vehicles that require more microchips. However, he said that money is what has allowed the dealership to retain the same number of employees they had prior to the pandemic.
“We’ve had to maintain a higher margin on prices to be able to pay salaries, wages, etcetera,” Peterson said.
Peterson said the good news is that dealerships are not struggling to sell vehicles, despite the significant delays in getting them in stock.
“When those cars become available, they’re scooped up, and we continue to play the waiting game,” Peterson said.
Brian Harris, owner of Brian Harris Used Cars in Selah, said the short supply means new car dealerships are holding onto cars that they typically would have sold to used car dealerships like his. He said that’s left them with fewer cars in the lot.
“When the pandemic started, we had like 250 to 300 cars in stock and now we probably have 130 to 150,” Harris said.
Harris says they’re still getting new inventory in, but it’s getting bought up too quickly to sit in the lot for a significant period of time.
“We’ve been extremely busy, so once we get cars there that we like and have them in inventory, it’s pretty easy for us to sell them,” Harris said.
Harris said it’s not just locals who are buying cars from his dealership, but people who fly in from across the country.
“What helps us is being in business for 31 years and having a customer base,” Harris said. “We’ve built up a brand or reputation to where people feel confident buying from us.”
Their recommendation to customers? Communicate with your dealership about your needs, do research on the kind of car you want and be patient while the supply chain issues continue to cause delays.
“Ultimately, this will pass,” Peterson said. “We just don’t know when. We don’t know how long the outlook’s gonna be before we return to big inventories and lower prices.”
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