A computer chip shortage has put a wrench in consumers’ ability to buy cars. Back in 2020, this chip shortage was beginning to materialize. At the start of the pandemic, decisions from automobile manufacturers have negatively affected dealerships and the industry as a whole. Many potential buyers are boarding planes to obtain the car they want to purchase.
The shortage of computer chips has put dealerships in a precarious position. Without the essential tools, manufacturers across the country shut down, disserting dealerships and leaving them with limited vehicles to sell. The lack of diversity in available cars made buying plane tickets a sensible option for potential buyers.
These chips, though small, have created a considerable dilemma for car industries globally. Chips were primarily shipped to tech manufactures, aligning with the rise in electronic use during the pandemic. Work-from-home employees quickly transitioned to online technology, which led to massive purchases of tablets, laptops, and computer accessories. Chip suppliers diverted shipments to these companies, leaving less for motor vehicle plants in 2021.
Alongside hopping a plane for their desired car, consumers are experiencing other unique irritations. Many buyers have reported higher prices for used vehicles, adding to the high cost of airfare. Dealerships and other car sellers are also selling cars in severe condition, some of which were repaired after enduring serious collisions.
The quick rise in demand for cars contrasts with its decline in 2020. Many ditched their cars or didn’t need them to commute during quarantine. Rental companies and taxi businesses reported selling some of their vehicles to compensate for a travel-restricted environment. Now that the vaccine is available and people are back in the office, the demand for buying a car is higher than ever.
The acceleration of demand has exponentially grown a car’s price. While the difference between buying a new car this year and last year is about $5,000, a used car has a more significant deviation. $29,000 is the reported average price for buying a car in 2021, while last year, the average was $22,679. Even as buyers board planes to find better deals available, the used car price is expected to exceed $30,000 by the beginning of next year.
Buyers are looking at a market with limited options regarding mileage and price. A medical sales executive from New Orleans, Tom Maletic, endured a similar tragedy when buying a used car. Though he expected to find a car for $15,000 with fewer than 20,000 miles, most used vehicles exceeded his budget by more than $5,000. His story culminated in, like many, boarding a plane to another state to snag a vehicle that both fit his parameters and worked with his budget.
The price tag of used cars these days won’t be decreasing anytime soon, which means that folks might still choose to board a plane to buy a car and get a good deal. Chief financial officer of Ford, John Lawler, said: “we’re doing everything we can to get our hands on as many chips as we can.” Still, experts expect this chip pandemic to run through 2022. Other major companies like General Electric are planning with chip manufactures for basic chips that cover a few essential needs. Unfortunately, this promising plan won’t affect market prices quickly. For many, boarding a plane to buy that necessary car will be the only viable option.