DETROIT (WOOD) — This year’s North American International Auto Show may look a lot like your local dealer’s lot: Not a lot of inventory.
If you needed a new car in the last two years, chances are you didn’t buy off the lot.
A shortage of computer chips and other vital parts had automakers building to order, not to show. The result has been a lot of open pavement at area dealerships. That may not change much in the future.
“Right now, we’ve got about a million vehicles on dealer lots. Pre-Covid, we had three and a half to four million vehicles. We’re estimating around two and a half million, maybe 2.8 million as we get back to normal. That will be the new normal,” said IHS Auto Analyst Mike Wall.
“As a consumer, it may force some calibration in terms of expectations around contenting and availability.”
In other words, don’t expect to find it one day and drive it off the lot the next. The advantage for dealers is they won’t have to pay up front to fill the lot with unsold vehicles.
And while some car buyers like the near-instant gratification that comes with buying off the lot, they may end up with a vehicle more suited to their needs.
“If we’re going and buying from stock a lot of times, were kind of taking what’s given to us. There may be some sacrifices there,” said Wall.
“But here, you’re kind of creating your own vehicle. You’re creating that option package and the content that you exactly want, and you’re not paying for what you don’t want,” he added.
The North American International Auto Show opens to the public on Saturday.