Vehicle shortages create challenges for Vancouver dealership and buyers

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VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — The coronavirus pandemic is creating serious challenges for people looking to buy a new car or truck in the area as dealerships and car buyers cope with supply chain issues that has vehicle inventories at record lows.

When the pandemic started, factories were forced to shut down for several months, which lead to low inventory. Components such as microchips and plastics needed to make vehicles are also backed up behind schedule.

Car industry experts told KOIN 6 that they’ve never experienced such a severe shortage of new vehicles before.

“Well, technically on the ground, we have three available… new vehicles,” said Phillip Cianni with McCord’s Vancouver Toyota. “All the constraints just kind of continue to pile up and pile up, which put the dealers in this position.”

Typically, the car lot has 400 new vehicles on location.

For consumers, there’s little leverage to negotiate on price. However, even with empty lots, the demand from buyers remains strong.

“I was hoping to get something better, but do you wait for how many more months to get the price down or do you bite the bullet and get the car when you need a new car?” said Staci Lorch, who bought a car sight unseen.

Car buyers at Vancouver Toyota are forced to purchase vehicles before seeing them in person. They make orders, give a deposit and the vehicles arrive six to eight weeks later.

“This by far hands down has been insurmountable,” said Cianni. “It’s incredible to see the lack of inventory that’s out there.”

He added that most cars on the lot are also pre-owned vehicles.

Pro Caliber in Vancouver also faces a similar situation when it comes to motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and personal watercraft.

Travis Richards, who is the general manager at Pro Caliber, says there is not a single off-road vehicle or personal watercraft in stock.

“At this point, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be much change through the rest of the year,” said Richards. “We have a lot of vehicles on order – a lot of pre-sold vehicles. Our fingers are crossed but the manufactures are telling us they’ve having a lot of supply chain issues at this time.”

Industry insiders expected things to improve by summer but say the demand continues to increase and people could face similar shortages for several more months.

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