From a global semiconductor chip shortage to a sudden spike in demand, the auto marketplace has experienced its fair share of challenges over the past few years. These obstacles are affecting the customer buying experience, too. The traditional car-shopping process of entering a dealership, walking through rows and rows of cars hoping to find what you want, then haggling for the best price will likely be a thing of the past in 2022.
Before the pandemic, Power Ford in Albuquerque would typically feature about 650 vehicles on their lots at any given time. This allowed buyers to browse several models to find the vehicle that best suited their needs. With the chip shortage, however, dealer inventories have decreased to an average of 50 vehicles on their lots, creating a roadblock for customers who are ready to drive away with a new car that day.
According to Rob Sneed, Power Ford’s Managing Partner, dealerships may not see pre-pandemic inventory levels return until the end of 2022. What does this mean for you as a shopper? Rob states, “You can either compromise on a car currently on the lot, custom-build a new vehicle online, or buy a used one.”
PLANNING TO PURCHASE A NEW VEHICLE IN 2022?
“Building and ordering a custom vehicle online could be your best bet, because it allows you to get your exact preferences, such as body style, color, and other features,” says Rob. You do not have to build it by yourself, he says. Start by researching the features you want, then visit a dealership to test-drive the type of vehicle you have been researching. When you’re ready to move forward, work with a salesperson to build and place your order with the exact specifications you want. “Your new vehicle should take about two to three months to be delivered,” says Rob.
While you wait for your new vehicle, the carmaker may send you updates about your vehicle’s journey, including photos of it being constructed on the assembly line. Pretty nifty!
WHAT ABOUT USED VEHICLES?
Thinking of buying a used vehicle? Things may be a bit harder for you in 2022. Used vehicles are currently in high demand, and there isn’t much to choose from on dealer lots. According to Manheim, a wholesale auto marketplace, the value of used vehicles increased 44% due to high demand between November 2020 and mid-November 2021.* By planning ahead and researching dealership inventories, you should have a better idea of what kinds of cars are available.
Rob’s primary piece of advice for purchasing a vehicle in 2022? “Shop around as much as possible, wait for the right vehicle to come along if you can, and buy only from someone you absolutely trust.”
*The Manheim Index, November 5, 2021. Accessed on November 24, 2021. publish.manheim.com/en/services/consulting/used-vehicle-value-index.html
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