Northeastern Michigan Dealers Struggle With Low Inventory, High Demand | News, Sports, Jobs

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Dean Arbor Ford Sales Manager George Studley, left, and Sales Consultant Dave Reed prepare a new Ford Bronco for a customer who bought the vehicle. Studley said they sell a lot of new cars, but most vehicles never make it to the display lot because a shortage of semiconductor chips has caused supply problems in the auto industry.

ALPENA – It can take months for a person ordering a new vehicle to receive it as an ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips has crippled automakers and high demand has made it difficult for dealers to keep new vehicles on their lots .

“Most of the vehicles we get are sold before they get to the field,” said Jamie Anschuetz-Gohlke, sales manager at Cliff Anschuetz Chevrolet in Alpena.

A semiconductor chip serves as the brains of modern electronics, including new and increasingly high-tech vehicles.

But an increase in coronavirus cases in Asia, where most of these chips are built, and ongoing bottlenecks at U.S. ports have forced nearly all automakers to adjust production significantly.

Consulting firm AlixPartners recently told the Washington Post that the global auto industry will manufacture between 1.5 million and 5 million fewer vehicles than expected this year, meaning lower inventories could continue through 2023. .

The shortage forced Northeast Michigan dealerships to create waiting lists and forced some customers to settle for a different vehicle color than they wanted or without some of the features they wanted.

At Mike Lynch Ford in Rogers City, officials proactively ordered several new vehicles before word of the chip shortage spread, said Josh Joseph, the dealership’s chief financial officer.

Ford has since increased its fleet of vehicles, but the cars don’t stay at the dealership for long, Joseph said.

“We started informing people very early about the shortage and due to the orders we received a larger allocation,” he said. “We managed to get ahead of those around us.

Joseph said about 85% of the dealership’s business came from new vehicle rentals, and this has continued. He said most people who had leases could trade in their vehicle and get a new one, but others had to wait for their new vehicle to arrive. Because the store has a few more vehicles in stock, Joseph said, the dealership has received business from people across the state.

At Alpena, Dean Arbor Ford sales manager George Studley said he expects the chip shortage to continue into the next year and the number of new cars and trucks in the field to remain low. .

He said Ford’s manufacturing plants had parking lots filled with new vehicles waiting for the computer chips before the automaker could send those vehicles to dealerships.

Studley said the used car market is hot right now and prices have increased somewhat due to the lack of new cars. He said the number of leases remained strong and, like Anschuetz-Gohlke, he urged tenants to order their new rides months before their lease ends.

Anschuetz-Gohlke expects activity to pick up once the market stabilizes and stocks return to normal.

Right now, however, “we’ve had less foot traffic and fewer people entering,” she said. “Normally we have people stopping and walking around and kicking the tires, but right now there aren’t a lot of tires to throw. “

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