Family-owned car dealers feeling the pinch of car industry climate

Used car lot
Posted at 9:06 AM, Oct 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 11:06:08-04

DENVER — The amount spent on new cars hit an all-time high this summer and prices for pre-owned cars increased by more than 30% annually, impacting many family-owned dealerships.

"I mean, I've never seen it this way in 30 years," said John Lindberg, who owns three independent auto dealerships.

For the last several months, the car industry across the country has gone through a roller coaster that is being felt at family-owned lots like the ones owned by Lindberg.

"It's just really tough to acquire source inventory of the new car dealers. They're not giving up the inventory like they used to, and then they're supplementing their income by selling more used cars, so it's more difficult to attain vehicles, pre-owned vehicles," said Lindberg.

In the end, creating a seller’s market.

If new car dealerships aren’t letting go of their used cars, it makes the rest of the used car inventory go up in price.

"A perfect example I can think of right now is a gentleman that bought a Toyota truck in 2015 — he paid $25,000 for it and I paid him $36,000 for the same truck," said Lindberg.

David Cardella, the CEO of the Colorado Independent Automobile Dealer’s Association, says the way the market got into this mess is the same way it’ll recover.

"That's going to depend on what happens with the chip shortage when that supply finally eases up. You're going to see the new cars come out on the market," said Cardella.

And even though salesmen will always tell you the time to buy is now if you’re in the market for a new car, it might actually be the case.

"When you come across something, I encourage you to buy it because the guy who looked at it yesterday is probably coming back to buy it today because they can't find him anywhere else," said Cardella.