Shutdowns squeeze inventory at dealership
Shoppers in the market for a new car this year may need to wait several months if they have their heart set on a popular model.
Inventory is still tight months after assembly plants were closed in response to COVID-19, said Terry Hagen, owner and sales manager at Hillsboro Ford.
“Plants are not caught up yet, they are still four months behind,” he said. “If you order an automobile, it may not come in until May.”
Some parts to build or repair cars are still hard to find, especially electrical components. On Thursday, Ford Motor Company announced part shortages will force its Louisville Assembly Plant for to close for two weeks.
Other auto manufacturers have reported similar supply problems as demand for cars outpaces what plants are able to build.
Despite challenges posed by tight inventory, Hagen said the Hillsboro dealership has been doing “very brisk business” for the past 12 months.
The dealership grew its online resources in 2020 to appeal to buyers who hit websites, which seems to have paid off.
Stimulus checks were not much of a factor in nudging many to buy, he said.
“It’s only $600 to go for a $40,000 car,” he said.
Trucks and SUVs have rolled off the lot faster than most other models, especially Ford Expeditions.
The model is popular as a family vehicle with men who tell him they are “not mini-van dads,” he said.
Trucks also are becoming increasingly popular with families because many larger models can comfortably fit up to six. The F-150 is still a top seller, he said.
Hagen said he is not sure what to expect this next year because the outlook is still volatile after four years of a polarized political climate.
“If people become afraid they could clam up,” he said. “But we did not see that in 2020, so I don’t expect that in 2021.”
Last modified Jan. 28, 2021