It’s likely you’ve noticed or experienced what is going on in the market for new and used cars even if you are not looking for a vehicle. Have you passed by a dealership with near empty lots? Did you hear the news story from last Spring of the Kentucky Motor Speedway parking lot full of Ford Trucks without computer chips in them? Did your local dealership contact you about your trade in? Needless to say, it is far from a buyers’ market when it comes to automobiles.
Unfortunately, most of us rely pretty heavily on our cars to live our lives. When your 2007 Acura TL with over 250,000 miles spends more time in the shop than your driveway, you don’t have much choice but to enter the frenzy and buy a new car. I reached my tipping point on a cold Monday morning when my formerly Ole Faithful decided she wasn’t going to the office with me that day. I thought I’d share my experience as an example of what it’s like to buy a car in early 2022.
The market conditions for new and used cars are certainly explainable. The pandemic shutdown in 2020 caused the supply chain to bottle neck like a pile up on an icy roadway. As a result, computer chips and other parts that modern vehicles rely on are in short supply.
This means not enough new cars to meet demand. When supply doesn’t meet demand, prices go up. That’s how we end up with a record spike in used car prices, and why consumers are being forced to pay above MSRP for new cars.
In our case, my wife and I knew we wanted to replace my Acura with a more family friendly car. We travel a lot to see my family in Louisville and need something to haul young kids around to the ever-growing list of activities. I could write an entire blog on how we reached our decision, but after discussing several options we decided we were going to buy a minivan. Neither of us had ever purchased a brand-new car before, we typically preferred to buy lightly used to save a little on the front end, but also get something reliable that would last for several years. As we began our research, we found several vehicles 2 or 3 years old that were priced the same, or even more than the brand-new ones. Especially given our recent VIP status at the local mechanics shop, it became pretty obvious that buying a lightly used car didn’t make a lot of sense.
As we transitioned to the new car market, we encountered more hurdles and decisions. We used a local service that helps people to find and buy new cars which made things a lot easier. They were able to search worldwide for vehicles that fit what we wanted. From here it was simple – we could get exactly the features we wanted such as color and trim – or we could get a car quickly. We’ve heard stories of people waiting several months, or even a year for new cars with custom specs. The timing depends on how picky you are, and what make and model you want. Seeing as we didn’t really have the luxury of time, we asked for a couple of key features and let our shopper do his thing. He got back to us with exactly one vehicle. That’s right, one Toyota Sienna Hybrid that was drivable and not already sold before it came off the assembly line. Lucky for us it was an acceptable color and available within just a few days.
The timing was far less than ideal, we paid what was asked without any room to negotiate. However, we got a new car without waiting too long, at a time where there quite literally aren’t enough to go around. It all felt a bit like musical chairs, and we were just happy to have a seat when the music stopped.
So, whether you are a proud minivan Dad like I am or looking for that retirement dream car, we at TAAG are happy to help you think through the financial aspect of your next car purchase. The best advice I can offer now is to wait a while before replacing the car you have. However, if you’re like me and wake up one morning and have no choice, please let us know how we can help.