U.S. new-vehicleshortage of computer chips worsened, shuttering factories and limiting the selection of dealer lots
By TOM KRISHER AP Auto Writer
October 2, 2021, 1:30 AM
• 4 min read
DETROIT — An average month before the, Con Paulos’ Chevy dealership in Jerome, Idaho, sold around 40 new vehicles. In September, it was only six. Now he’s got nothing new in stock, and every car, truck, or SUV on order has been sold. Last month, what happened at his dealership about 115 miles (185 kilometers) southeast of Boise was repeated across the country as factory closures of computer chips crimped U.S. new vehicle shipments.
U.S. new-vehicle sales tumbled about 26% in September as chip shortages and other parts-supply disruptionsagain to record levels. That sent many frustrated consumers to the sidelines to wait out a shortage that has hobbled the industry . According to Edmunds.com, automakers just over 1 million vehicles during the month, according to Edmunds.com, a figure that included estimates for Ford and others that didn’t report numbers Friday. September was the lowest sales month of the year, Edmunds said.
Automakers on Friday reported some pretty poor numbers. For the third quarter, sales were 3.4 million, down 13% from a year ago. General Motors, which only reports sales by quarter, said its deliveries were off nearly 33% from July through September of last year. Stellaris, formerly Fiat Chrysler, saw quarterly sales dip 19%, while Nissan sales were down 10%. Honda’s U.S. sales month and were down 11% for the quarter. At Toyota, sales were off 22% for September but up just over 1% in the third quarter. Hyundai but up 4% for the third quarter. Volkswagen’s third-quarter sales were down 8%.
“September results show that there are simply not enough vehicles available to meet consumer demand,” said Thomas King, president ofat J.D. Power. The average sales price of a new vehicle hit a record $42,802 last month, of $41,528 set in August, J.D. Power said. TJ.D. Power noted that the average U.S. ago when it broke $36,000 for the first time; the auto have helped to drive up U.S. inflation. General Motors, by temporary plant closures last quarter, expressed some optimism, though. Steve Carlisle, president of GM , said the computer chip shortage is improving.
“As we look to the fourth quarter, a steady flow of vehicles held at plants will continue to be released to dealers, we are restarting production at last year when many states issued stay-at-home orders. Prices plummeted, and automakers shuttered factories for eight weeks. The resulting decline in supply came just as many cooped-up consumers wanted a new or used vehicle to commute to work or to take without coming in contact with others.plants, and we look forward to a more stable operating environment through the fall,” he said in a statement. The shortage and crazy high prices for new and used vehicles began with the eruption of the pandemic
While the auto plants were shut down in April and May last year, computer people keep their vehicles longer. He’s hoping the new auto shortage has hit bottom and says GM appears to be bringing more factories back online. “We won’t have any inventory to show . “If we don’t get some supply to the dealers, the record profits we were making will turn into record losses, I’m afraid. It’s hard to sustain yourself with no new flow.”shifted production to satisfy wild demand for laptops, gaming devices, and tablets. That created a shortage of automotive-grade chips, a problem that might not be fully resolved until . Because of the high prices, dealers big and small are , but Paulos fears those days might be over. He’s paying the bills and making money with used car sales and service as