How the pandemic is impacting inventory for new, used cars in the Ozarks

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 11:30 AM CST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2021 at 11:43 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Just like everything else, the pandemic is impacting car sales in the Ozarks.

Lynn Thompson of Thompson Sales, a Buick, GMC, Cadillac dealer in Springfield, says despite the pandemic, 2020 was a record year for sales. Thompson says he can’t really explain it, but more customers have been buying vehicles. And it comes as inventory drops.

Thompson says there’s been a shortage of new cars for about the last nine months, as factories slow from the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns. He said General Motors was also impacted by a strike just before the pandemic began. And he says, many car companies are experiencing delays because of a shortage of microchips needed. But Thompson says the price is on new cars have not risen.

The pandemic is impacting the used car inventory too. In February, Thompson’s sold 116 used cars. It started this month with just 118 cars on the lot, two-thirds of normal inventory. He says supply and demand drove up the prices of used cars. Thompson says they use a computer program averaging the price of similar cars within 500 miles. And it aims to set their prices 5% under that.

“I’ve read articles that say, eventually they may come down some, eventually they may still keep going up, eventually they may stay the same,” said Thompson. “I don’t know. I’m not that smart I don’t think anybody has a clue as to what. The only thing I think is, I think the pandemic is slowing down, and that is good for everything.”

Thompson believes one reason for the shorter used car inventory is customers in bigger cities, relying more on public transportation, are concerned about exposure to COVID-19. They are buying personal cars for the first time.

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