A shortage of new and preowned cars is sweeping the nation, and dealerships in Northeast Georgia are experiencing the same problem.
Mike Cormier, general manager for Hardy Chevrolet in Gainesville, said the primary reason for the dealership’s shortage in new vehicle inventory is a global shortage in computer chips. The lack of chips necessary to complete vehicles has led to many factory shutdowns.
“Chevrolet has had shutdowns at different factories. They have tried their best to keep the Silverados going, full sport utilities like the Tahoes and the Suburbans, in the Corvette factory in Bowling Green, but they have shut down periodically here and there,” said Cormier.
Cormier said that due to the lack of new vehicle inventory, as well as the higher price for those that are available, used car owners are hesitant to trade in their vehicle.
That means used cars are harder for the dealership to come by, as well as extremely valuable.
“There’s been some customers that brought in some late model pre-owned [vehicles] that almost got what they paid for it then,” said Cormier.“If you need a new vehicle or used vehicle, you have to get one…if you’re trading again, you’re going to get top dollar for your trade. You’re going to pay a little higher on the used car market for the one that you’re purchasing, but it washes out in the end.”
Cormier is not the only one whose dealership is looking for used cars. Matt Hayes, general manager of the Hayes of Baldwin dealerships, said he is reaching out to customers to see if they are willing to sell.
“I’m actually advertising in different forms to customers, to try to [see] if there’s a customer that’s got a third car that nobody uses sitting at the house, or maybe they just don’t need a vehicle, to bring it in and let us take a look at it and turn that car sitting in the driveway into money,” said Hayes.
Hayes said that he has even heard of used car owners selling on their own because of the increased value of their vehicle. In addition, he said many dealers are buying used cars just to fill up their lots.
Like Cormier, Hayes said that preowned cars are worth much more now than even as little as six months ago.
“If a customer trades truck for truck consistently every year, his vehicle that he bought last year is worth a lot more money than the vehicle was that he traded in on that one, because of the rise in the values in the books right now,” said Hayes.
Mark Boggs, general manager of Milton Martin Honda in Gainesville, said that there has “never been a better time” to upgrade cars.
“The used car values are higher now than I’ve seen in a very, very long time, if not the highest I’ve ever seen them,” said Boggs. “People can trade their car and get the max value for it and get a new car.”
Boggs said that he and the staff at Milton Martin Honda often offer to buy a customer’s car now whenever they visit the service department.
“We’re acquiring a lot of trades just from our customers or people that are coming to the service department, we offer to buy their car if they’re in the market to sell it, so that’s where our used car inventory is coming from,” said Boggs.