You can’t escape hard facts right now; prices are higher on everything from groceries to homes. But the auto market is going through something we’ve never seen. Inflationary pressures and supply chain issues make it very difficult for anyone looking for a car.
“Well, it’s definitely a seller’s market right now. There just isn’t a lot of inventory and you look at the old laws of supply and demand – the demand is far outstripping the offer,” said consumer reports Automotive expert Mike Quincy on why salespeople have such an advantage in the automotive market. There just aren’t enough cars because of a shortage of microchips.
“You wouldn’t think such a small piece of hardware would have so much impact on a car. But these microchips run window switches and infotainment screens and even heated seats,” Quincy said.
The effect is so great that used cars can cost as much as new ones.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, and I’m sure retailers and buyers haven’t seen anything like this either, because the value of used cars has gone up so much,” Quincy said. “You might be able to get a new car for the same price as a 3-year-old used car, depending on the make and model.”
When it comes to trading in or selling the car first, Quincy says, you get more money if you sell it yourself. If financing, save time and get this sorted out before you go to the dealership. “Check out a credit union. If you haven’t joined a credit union, they usually have the best rates,” Quincy said.
Know what you want. Browse inventory online and try to verify with the dealership that the car is still available. Also, in making your choice, be flexible.
“Go see another sedan that did well in consumer reports test and has good reliability, instead of just focusing on one make and model, as this will help; that the more flexibility you have, the more likely you are to get a good car,” Quincy said.
And you don’t have to settle for something overpriced with dealer markups.
“You have as a consumer, you have your feet and you start coming out of the dealership. You know, you don’t have to pay that extra dealership markup,” Quincy said.
If you’re still not sure where to start looking, you can head over to the Consumer Reports website and browse their top picks in your price range.