Local auto dealers face shortage of inventory
CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio – The past 15 months have been a roller coaster ride for the auto industry.
In March of last year, people were buying cars and stocks were high.
Today, car dealerships do not have enough cars to meet demand and local dealers are feeling the impact of a global economy.
“When it first came out it looked like there would be no cars for a year,” said Josh Obenreder. “The first day I saw two cars, all I could think of was that everyone walking past us thinks we’re going to close our doors.”
Obenreder has worked at Cascade Auto in Cuyahoga Falls for approximately three years. It was the first time he had seen the show park empty.
At the lowest point, Obenreder said he answered a few worried calls for the dealership.
“Where are all your cars?” “
Cars are in short supply after a shortage of computer chips. A factory fire earlier this year and a decision in 2020 to focus more on computer chips for game consoles rather than cars, there aren’t enough computer chips for cars needed now.
“We get curved balls almost every two months,” said Pat Primm.
But now things are starting to balance out.
“It’s a beautiful thing. We love it,” Obenreder said, looking at a lot more cars than at the start of June. Earlier this month, General Motors announced it would increase production. The Subaru manufacturing plant in Indiana, where Cascade gets its cars, is expected to follow suit to meet driver demand.
“Our goal is to sell 80 Subarus per month,” said Primm. “Last week if you were here we would have had two cars on the ground, which makes things a bit difficult.”
The auto industry is sales driven. With no cars to sell, Cascade Auto employees had to pivot. They are now taking more car orders instead of being able to sell them in batches.
“In that regard, you kinda sell kind of a ghost car,” Obenreder said.
They also tell customers that it can take several weeks for the car they ordered to arrive.
Recognizing the decline in sales during a generally busy time, dealership executives changed course with the free time.
“This year we said, look, there’s nothing here,” Primm said. “If you have a vacation in the bank, why don’t you think about going out there and taking that summer trip.”
Primm said the auto industry saw the chip shortage coming. He thinks the imbalance will soon be corrected.
“Each brand is a little different. Subaru assures us that probably by August we will be back to normal levels,” he said.
Joey Huang of the Greater Cleveland Auto Dealers Association is experiencing a similar schedule.
“I think some manufacturers have better relationships with their suppliers and these manufacturers will come back faster and some maybe in 2022.”
The runoff of the chip problem and the car shortage is being felt by the consumers. Used cars are also scarce. The new consumer price index figures show an increase of 29.7% from a year ago. But analysts expect prices to balance out when the chips start shipping, which is good news for Obenreder
“I’m really used to an inventory of around 115 cars, but it’s really nice to see,” he said standing in the parking lot. “It’s a change of pace. And I don’t have to take my one Forester and my one Outback and tilt them to make it look like I have more inventory.”
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