Tom Pospisil, owner of Eriksen Chevrolet in Milan, sold cars to customers in seven states last month.
“Sure, I had Iowa and Illinois, but I also had a few vehicles in Missouri,” Pospisil said. “I had a few vehicles in Wisconsin, one in Pennsylvania, one in Ohio, one in Montana.”
A pandemic-triggered microchip shortage has slowed production of new cars, forcing potential buyers to scour lots across the country for the latest models. With declining production and rising demand, Quad-Cities dealers are struggling to keep vehicles on their lots.
And the shortage can mean buyers pay higher prices, even for used cars.
“It will probably take at least a year before things get a little more normal again,” Pospisil said. “But, you know, everyone thought that too with COVID.”
Production delays were triggered at the start of the pandemic, when automakers assumed consumer demand for cars would drop and canceled orders for microchips, said Michael Crum, a chain management professor at supply at Iowa State University. At the same time, the demand for electronic devices like computers and cellphones increased as people were locked inside. It is production stalled at auto factories across the country.
Subaru of Indiana Automotive in Lafayette, Indiana, produced about 85,000 fewer vehicles during the pandemic than in previous years, spokesman Craig Koven said. Production was suspended for eight weeks, a record for the plant, and some employees were put on leave.