Central Wisconsin car dealers expect car chip shortage to continue

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 10:36 PM CDT
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CENTRAL WISCONSIN, Wis. (WSAW) - Central Wisconsin car dealerships are feeling the sting of a nationwide computer chip shortage. The semiconductor chips are needed to make your car run. Dealerships are frustrated and concerned that the shortage is going to continue longer than they expected.

“This is not going to be ending anytime soon,” Car Smart in Wausau Owner AJ Stark said.

Stark said a shortage in semiconductor chips started at the beginning of the pandemic and it’s not going away.

“We’re here to sell cars and if you don’t have cars, you can’t sell cars,” Stark said.

With fewer cars on the market, prices of cars have gone up about 20%, meaning higher prices for dealers and higher prices for you. Demand for new and used vehicles is not going down.

“Automakers, they thought that the market would slow way down [during the pandemic] because it plummeted, and it picked up faster than they had imagined and they had canceled a lot of orders,” Stark said.

Park City Brickner’s dealership in Merrill is no different.

“We’re lucky to have the number of new vehicles on the lot that we actually do,” Vice President Jameson Brickner said.

Brickner said right now they have about 40 new cars and that number is normally over 100. For used cars, they’re about 70 short of where they should be.

“We’re pretty fortunate in that sense because a lot of dealers in the area have less than 10 vehicles on the lot,” Brickner said.

The issue is most chips are going towards cell phones, computers and other technology, while warehouses are full of cars waiting for their chips. This shortage is causing frustration for consumers and dealers.

“It’s tough and try not to lose sleep over it of course um because, without any inventory, we would just stare at each other all day,” Brickner said.

Both Stark and Brickner expect at least one more year of this. Brickner said they’re on pace for a record number of sales this year.

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