I remember 18 months ago I’d try to test drive a particular car. I usually couldn’t. Or I’d get 1 car to choose from, which usually would not have the options I was interested in (which is a problem if that option was the wrong power train, for example). In one case, at Acura, my only option was to drive a 2-year-old used car that was quite different than anything new. All that seems to be different now.
For example, lots of CR-V’s available, including Hybrids, right off the lot. A year ago you would have had to reserve a car currently in production and allocated to the dealer to get that car. Same with Mustang Mach-E’s, with a reasonable selection on the dealer lot now. Good selection of Toyotas.
Is this an indication of supply chain finally being worked out? Or slow down in sales or cars?
Unfortunately none of my uncles have country places that no one knows about.
(For those in the dark with Jordrok’s comment, my profile picture is from the Rush album “Power Windows”. Their “Moving Pictures” album has a song called Red Barchetta, about a car and a dystopian future)
I think it varies by maker. I saw a video recently that showed a Honda dealer with literally only a handful (under 10) cars on the lot so you’re seeing the opposite of that in your neck of the woods with CR-Vs. Toyota dealers seem to have relatively little stock but it isn’t clear if Toyota is still facing “chip problems” or if they and their dealers have decided to run lean on inventory, continue the sense of scarcity, reduce risk from excess inventory and make customers order virtually everything and wait. That model works for the maker and the dealers. It might work for a buyer if the timing of a new car is optional. It doesn’t work for the buyer if they MUST get a new car due to a cost-prohibitive failure or car accident that requires a replacement NOW.
Another macro level stress to ponder in the auto industry… Ford, GM and Stellantis all seem to have a huge oversupply of vastly overpriced trucks and big SUVs and dealers haven’t absorbed the lesson about supply shortages being over and are still trying to collect pandemic era premiums on those vehicles. Some models have inventory that is 365 days old. At the same time, all three makers face strikes as UAW contracts expire 9/14/2023 and negotiations loom. Frankly, now would be a PERFECT time for a strike… If you’re a car maker. You are probably nearing the point where massive layoffs are going to be required to stop adding to the glut of unsold vehicles on dealer lots. If union workers decide to strike for better pay, they will exert zero additional pain on manufacturers and gain zero leverage in negotiations. This could make for a long strike and a big hit to the larger economy as auto workers forego a month or two or three of wages.