Shortage of new, used vehicles has buyers frustrated by high costs

'Last year there were 8 million cars that weren't produced,' auto expert says
Posted at 5:16 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 16:38:57-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — From empty sales lots and showrooms, depending on where you go to buy a new vehicle you might find there is little to no inventory.

The shortage of new cars, truck and SUVs continue to push prices upward.

Edward Lynch's passion for cars started way before his race car driving days.

"My love for cars started when I grew up. We were so poor. We had the worst car in my entire school, and I was always embarrassed about it," Lynch said.

This is now his 84th car but trading in to buy No. 85 has been a challenge.

Edward Lynch, car enthusiast
Edward Lynch has been dissatisfied with the lack of vehicle choices.

"When you go into the lot where they have them all stored, there's nothing there," Lynch said.

Supply chain issues are leading to record prices and profits for car dealerships. Buyers can expect to pay an average of $6,000 more for a new car.

The average price of a new car continues to increase.

The latest Kelley Blue Book report says the average price of a new car is $47,000.

As interest rates climb, will that slow down demand and lower prices?

"I think since there's such an overwhelming demand, I don't think interest rate hikes will provide a profound effect, at least in the near term," said Chad Spencer, the president of Auto Lease Consultants.

Chad Spencer, president of Auto Lease Consultants
Chad Spencer discusses why vehicle prices have skyrocketed in the past year.

Spencer helps buyers find the cars they want.

"The fact that there is such a shortage of new cars on the market, actually last year there were 8 million cars that weren't produced, so that's driven people to the used car market, and that's driven the prices up," Spencer said.

Used car prices are up 37 percent nationally according to the latest consumer price index report.

"Inflation is just out of control, and it's in everything across the board," Lynch said.

Car lot half empty
An assortment of models sits outside a Mini dealership in a nearly-empty storage lot Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Spencer said if you have to buy a vehicle, don't panic and be open to change.

"There's a car out there, just be patient, and you might have to search a little more," Spencer said.

Here are a few steps that can help you in the car buying process.

Auto sales experts say to get approved for a rate with your bank or local credit union before going to the dealer. Also, be flexible about the make and model or color you want.

And if you can wait to buy or lease, give it more time.