It could be years before buyers can just walk into a dealership off the street and buy a new vehicle like they could at the beginning of 2021.
The industry has since gone from drive-it-away-today mode to get-on-a-list-and-wait-for-three-to-six-monthsor-longer mode. And no major automaker has been able to avoid the complications caused by the inventory shortage that has ensnared dealers and their customers.
“At our stores, everything is a wait,” said Michael Carmichael, president of UpAuto, which owns St. Marys Buick-GMC, Stratford Subaru and Stratford Nissan in Southern Ontario, as well as Cargo, a used-car business.
“I have customers waiting a year for certain pickups,” he said.
And it’s difficult to give them a definitive answer as to when they can pick up their purchase.
“Your average wait, if you’re looking at a factory order — i.e., ‘I don’t want a black one, I want a blue one’ — it could be six months,” Carmichael said. “You don’t want to overpromise and underdeliver, you want to be realistic.”
RELIEF NEXT YEAR, MAYBE
Initially caused by a global scarcity of microchips, the supply squeeze has been exacerbated by shipping problems, including a shortage of rail cars and long-haul truckers, say industry experts. That means customers will likely continue to encounter months-long waits for popular models for at least another year.