A global shortage of semi-conductors is causing issues for local vehicle dealerships, whose inventories of new vehicles has shrunk dramatically.
Whitehorse Motors sales manager Jens Nielsen said in an interview last Tuesday the shortage has hit the supply chain for vehicles across the board – but particularly for pickup trucks.
“We would normally have 30 (Ford) F150s for sale on our lot and we currently have two,” he said. “Super Duty 350s, we would have 12. We have zero.”
A customer has already put his or her name on most of the trucks that are coming in, Nielsen added.
China, he noted, has shut down whole cities because of the COVID-19 pandemic – and China is a large global supplier of semi-conductors.
If just one supplier is down, it reduces capacity, Nielsen said.
“What surprises me is how fickle the supply chain is,” he said. “Before COVID, we took stuff for granted.
“It’s very tricky right now trying to get enough inventory to keep customers happy. We certainly do not have the selection we had pre-COVID.”
He said Ford and other manufacturers have talked about shipping trucks without chips just to get them where they need to go, then shipping the chips later when they become available.
The local dealer has indicated to Ford that it’s willing to take vehicles without chips to help the manufacturer deal with a large inventory sitting on lots, and hold them until the chips arrive. But it has not happened yet, Nielsen said.
He said the vehicles cannot be sold without the semi-conductors because they are a necessary component of the vehicles.
“I think COVID has put a damper on the supply chain,” Nielsen said.
Customers of any dealership can still order a vehicle, but the wait time is likely to be two to six months, depending on the type of vehicle and the options
Dominic Larkin, general manager for the Nissan dealership, said countries like Taiwan have just not been able to keep up with the supply of semi-conductors.
If you are looking at a microchip board, everything has semi-conductors, he said.
Larkin said huge companies like Apple are also in the queue for the components, which also has an impact on the supply chain.
Nissan currently has seven new vehicles for sale, but normally in the spring a couple of years ago. they would have 60 to 70, he said.
Larkin said the dealership used to have access to Nissan’s reserve stock, but Nissan and the other manufacturers do not have reserves now.
The supply issue is affecting all lines of vehicle products, but SUVs and trucks are the major ones, he said.