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In Depth: Navigating the winding road of the evolving car market

Posted at 7:26 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 12:42:23-04

BUFFALO (WKBW) — Looking to buy a new car? Get ready to grab the wheel with both hands. Low supply and high demand have left consumers navigating a winding road.

"I'd be lying if I said it's not the most unique market I've been in in over 35 years", says Paul Stasiak, the President of the Niagara Frontier Auto Dealers Association.

Stasiak says the biggest speed bump in the market right now is the lack of inventory all due to the global shortage of microchips. "The microchip shortage is creating a strain on all of the production corridors for all of our manufacturers. Lack of the chip, they can't build the truck."

According to the National Automobile Dealers Association new vehicle inventory has dropped close to 42 percent year-to-year. That shortage is being felt here locally.

"It's nothing that we have seen before", says Matt Lasher, the Director of Marketing for the West Herr Auto Group. "To try and give you a little perspective we used to carry about 6,000-7,000 new cars in stock. Now we have about 2000 in stock."

Still, Lasher says despite the short supply of new inventory demand remains strong. "The pent up consumer demand has been unheralded".

According to the NADA, U.S. auto sales ticked up slightly in the second quarter of the year with prices going along for the ride. The average transaction price for a new vehicle in June was expected to reach a record high of more than $40,000 according to J.D. Power.

But if you are in the market for a new car, or even thinking about it, it's not all bad news.

"If you have a car to trade in there really has never been a better time", said Lasher. "Used car prices have raised over 30 percent over the last 12 months. Not only used cars, but lease turn-ins. There are remarkable stories of lease equity".

Want to talk about lease equity? Just ask Frank Intorre of Buffalo. Intorre cashed in on his leased 2018 Dodge Durango. He used sites like Carvana and Kelly Blue Book to determine the fair market value for his car. He then found a local dealership that not only bought out his lease, but also gave him thousands of dollars.

"They ended up making me an offer for $5,000 more than my car was worth", says Intorre.

Intorre realizes that not everyone will have the same success, but says it's worth doing your research. "Make a couple phone calls. It doesn't take a whole lot", said Intorre.

Intorre ended up finding another car to lease, and if you are looking to do the same dealerships are preaching patience.

"If you know you are going to be in the market and you know your lease is due in September, start looking now. Start putting an order in, start identifying what you want, you need, and can afford", says Stasiak.

"Some brands there can be as much as a year long wait for certain very hard to find cars. Other cases it may be 30, 60 or 90 says", says Lasher. "The more particular, the more flexible you need to be with your time"