Looking to Purchase a New Vehicle? Here’s Why You Might Not Find Your Dream Car

My First Car.
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In a country that loves its cars as much as the United States, you might not expect new vehicle sales to slow because of a shortage of inventory. But that’s what’s happening.

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Auto sales for August are expected to decline to their slowest pace this year, according to a new forecast from Cox Automotive. It expects the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for the month to finish near 14.3 million, down from 14.8 million in July and 15.2 million in August 2020. The current projection is well below the average rate of 17.0 million a month through May of this year.

Total sales volume is expected to finish near 1.20 million for August, a drop of 9% from last August, which had one additional selling day. If that happens, August’s finish would mark the fourth straight monthly decline of 500,000 units or more since April’s post-pandemic peak pace of 18.3 million.

The problem isn’t a lack of demand for vehicles, but a lack of available vehicles to sell. As Time reported on Wednesday, a global shortage of semiconductor chips supplied mainly from coronavirus-ravaged Southeast Asia has forced carmakers to scale back production. Nearly 20 factories have stopped or reduced production in recent weeks due to supply-chain issues.

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At Ford’s Kansas City assembly plant, which builds the F-150 pickup and Transit van, employees were temporarily laid off for a week as the carmaker waits for back-ordered chips to become available. General Motors said it will temporarily stop producing electric vehicles that require chips for certain features, impacting the production of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV vehicles.

Meanwhile, Toyota said it will cut production 40% worldwide in September, reducing its output by about 140,000 vehicles. You can expect similar moves by Honda, Volkswagen and other automakers. The result is far fewer vehicles on dealer lots, leaving consumers with limited choices and higher prices.

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And the supply situation is expected to worsen in coming weeks.

“Available inventory on dealer lots has been falling for months, and sales have been constrained further and further as a result,” Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough said in a press release. “Soon the market will enter the Labor Day holiday weekend, usually one of the highest sales periods of the entire year, but with half the supply they had last year.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte MagazineStreet & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, will be published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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