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East Texas car lot inventory down due to computer chip shortage

Published: Jun. 1, 2021 at 1:13 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 7:36 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - An ongoing computer chip shortage is making vehicle purchases more challenging. Your buying power may be limited, and it requires lots of patience.

In Nacogdoches, Tipton Ford owner Neal Slaten likes to keep a wide selection of F-150s on hand. This year, that is not happening.

“Red and blue. I have two F-150′s,” said Slaten while standing in front of the limited on-lot choice.

There are so few because of a scarcity of microchips. The trucks depend on over 100 micro-processors.

Other vehicles are impacted too.

“One of the main plants that produces the micro-processors had a fire,” explained Slaten. “And so, they’re having to shift production to other places throughout the United States and throughout the world.”

The dealers we spoke with said inventory should increase by summer’s end. Forbes magazine reported the microchip shortage could extend to 2023.

Dealers, along with their customers, wait for deliveries.

Rex Perry Autoplex expects a delivery on June 19. Five of the 16 crew cab pickups on order may not show up.

“They’ve been built. It’s got a serial number. It’s sitting outside a plant somewhere,” said Perry. “It just was built without a component that needs a certain micro-processor.”

Meanwhile, the cost of vehicles continue to climb, up to 20% more than last year, some trade journals report. So, dealers and customers modify.

“Last year we really learned how to adjust,” said Slaten. “And so we are doing what we can. Getting vehicles where we can. We continue to sell pre-owned vehicles and we’re just increasing the amount of inventory we have in pre-owned vehicles.”

And some buyers are opting out of the bells and whistles in order to get their purchase sooner.

“I explained to him [a customer] there was a particular component of driver alert that was held up by microprocessor,” shared Perry. “And he said, ‘I’ve been driving 25 years. I can do without it.’”

The empty lots speed up after-hour browsing by prospective customers. Dealers suggest browsing on the web and looking for custom order privileges. When deliveries arrive, the majority are pre-sold.

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