LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — In the market for a new car, but struggling to find a decent deal on a new ride? You’re not the only one.
“It’s tough,” Marc Sheff, a car buyer, said. “There’s not much to choose from. There’s no deals out there right now.”READ MORE: LA County Supervisor Signs Executive Order Requiring All County Employees Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19
With demand booming and supply stuck in park, the auto market has become a tough road to navigate.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Ray Shefska, an auto advocate, said.
Shefska, who runs the YouTube channel YAA with his son Zach, said part of the problem is a shortage in semiconductor chips. An average car requires between 50 and 150 chips, depending on how loaded it is. But, when the pandemic shut down car manufacturing, semiconductor companies stopped production.
Then, when the car sales bounced back faster than expected, automakers ramped up manufacturing and found themselves short on chips, leaving behind fewer cars, higher prices and a traffic jam of people waiting to buy.
“I’d tell them, if they can wait, to go ahead and wait,” James Callahan, owner of Callahan Motor Company, said. “I mean, right now, it would be more of a need instead of a want.”READ MORE: CBS2 Investigates: E. Coli Bacteria Levels In Echo Park Lake Higher Than State Water Quality Standards
According to the car buying website CarGurus.com, the number of new vehicles on dealer lots fell 55% from June 2020 to June 2021. And, with fewer new cars making their way to car lots, comes a higher demand for used cars.
“In the light of not having new cars on the lot, used cars are at a very high demand,” Brian Huth, an auto dealer, said. “The customer who’s selling is a happy customer because he’s getting more for more value than what he thought. If a customer’s trying to buy, he’s probably going to pay a few more dollars than what he expected to pay.”
According to car website Jalopnik, a sedan is the best choice for people desperately searching for a deal. The website also recommends people looking to pay less stay away from crossovers, SUVs and trucks, since they are the most in demand and the inflated prices might leave consumers needing a much bigger down payment.
As for those still in the market for a new vehicle, the Shefskas suggest consumers get their finances in order beforehand and consider a lease.
“If you’re buying a used vehicle, especially one with 100,000 miles, get a pre-purchase inspection,” Zach said. “It’s common. If the dealership or the lot you’re working with or even the private party seller won’t let you get a pre purchase inspection, it’s a great sign to walk away.”MORE NEWS: Daily COVID Cases Top 3,700 In LA County; 12-Year-Old Child Among New Deaths
Ultimately, the experts recommend looking around, weighing the options and not being afraid to wait until the price is right.