August 10, 2022

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Central Maine automobile dealerships struggle with supply chain squeeze

AUGUSTA — As neighborhood vehicle dealerships roll out income incentives tied to Presidents Day, they continue to experience extreme shortages of stock and areas as they endure lengthy hold out moments tied to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the offer chain.

Andy DuPont, vice president of sales at Charlie’s Motor Shopping mall on Western Avenue in Augusta, said shortages fueled by provide chain disruptions are impacting sellers who offer in all brand names of vehicles — domestic or overseas.

“With Nissan, for instance, there have been months where by they canceled all of their orders, or a few-quarters,” DuPont said. “Or appropriate now, the new Pathfinder, they canceled orders for two months.”

Andy DuPont, vice president of revenue at Charlie’s Motor Mall on Western Avenue in Augusta, claims auto shortages fueled by supply chain disruptions are impacting sellers who offer in all brands of cars — domestic or overseas. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

DuPont claimed orders are arriving inconsistently, too. If somebody orders precise choices, these types of as a moonroof on a Pathfinder or heated seats on a Ford Escape, the cars may possibly get there without the merchandise or with only some of what was requested.

The vehicle lack was worsened a short while ago when a cargo ship carrying about 1,300 luxurious cars — Porsches, Audis, Bentleys and Lamborghinis — caught fire Wednesday in the Atlantic Ocean as it steamed from Germany to Rhode Island. Considering the fact that then, the nonetheless-burning, 60,000-ton ship has been adrift in the vicinity of Portugal’s Azores islands.

A fire at a big microchip production facility in Japan has also exacerbated complications for car companies currently awaiting electrical factors used in automobiles and vans.

Tom Brown, president of the Maine Car Sellers Association in Augusta, explained based mostly on what he has listened to, the microchip shortage came as a shock to lots of auto manufactures and sellers.

“When the pandemic to start with came about, it was predicted there would be considerably less need for new automobiles, but the reverse happened,” Brown claimed. “As people today stayed house, or had to remain home in the early pieces of the pandemic, there were citizen buys of all types of electronics that have to have microchips, so manufacturing bought shifted.

“The automobile industry thought their (revenue) would be a very little less, although the other electronics, this sort of as telephones and personal computers, imagined theirs would be a small far more, so orders for laptop chips went up.”

The pandemic has also slowed car production and delivery as workers or truckers have gotten sick with COVID-19 and skipped massive quantities of operate, according to field reports.

“The market has not been immune to COVID-19,” Brown said. “Employees get ill. Customers of their spouse and children get sick. If they get uncovered, they have to be away for a when. The staff absenteeism is not since they want to be (out of work). It’s because they have to be.”

Chris Accord of Accord Auto & Self Storage at 530 Principal St. in Richmond when compared it to baking a cake: If the eggs are missing, a cake are not able to be created.If a manufacturer that makes critical fobs cannot get pieces, automobile can’t be accomplished, sent and marketed.

“Everything trickles down,” Accord reported. “If you have a truck, there basically can be a thousand sections. If you simply cannot get a person (element) to complete that truck as a whole, then you cannot market it. That’s what took place to a large amount of motor vehicles.”

He mentioned small business at Accord Auto, which sells used cars, has been been difficult during the pandemic. The dealership has gone from having “a good-sized automobile good deal to a extremely, very smaller made use of auto good deal.”

A row of Jeeps is parked Thursday at Charlie’s Motor Mall on Western Avenue in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Obtaining used autos is no for a longer period quick, in accordance to dealers. With fewer people today trading automobiles owing to the lack of new cars and vehicles and skyrocketing price ranges, most used automobiles now arrive from auctions.

Accord claimed he has struggled to discover employed automobiles that satisfy his dealership’s expectations for affliction and mileage.

“It started with COVID-19,” he stated. “I experienced a complete stock, and would market two cars and switch it with one particular. Then, I would provide four and swap it with one particular. Then, I would provide eight and replace it with one particular. Now, I’m down to a handful of cars, and I cannot exchange it with the variety of stock I like to offer.”

Lots of employed autos are offering for almost the similar value as new types because of the meager inventory of formerly owned vehicles, according to experiences.

DuPont reported the very low supply of cars and vans is causing some prospects to settle for designs they did not intend to acquire.

Craig Drew of Drew’s New to You! at 319 Eastern Ave. in Augusta mentioned he has experienced comparable complications trying to keep inventory on his income whole lot. One resolution has been for him to buy automobiles from other states.

“We haven’t had a great deal of individuals market their automobiles to us,” Drew reported. “Because we are a scaled-down dealership, we are having difficulties to find stock. We have searched the region. We have searched as significantly as California. Generally, we stay nearby, but in the earlier yr, we’ve had to lookup. We use regional auctions below in Maine.”

A lot of consumers seeking to buy new or made use of cars in central Maine said the lookup has been hard.

Liz Tibbetts of Pittston mentioned she and her spouse requested a Ford Bronco in October 2020 and have still to take delivery. She mentioned purchasing a vehicle was “very complicated.”

Dave Colvin, also of Pittston, mentioned he resorted to buying a motor vehicle in New Hampshire.

Meantime, auto dealers in central Maine claimed they have no thought when the shortage of new and made use of automobiles is very likely to strengthen.

“Everything I have heard retains finding pushed again,” Accord reported. “Six months back, they said in three months (it would be corrected). And 3 months ago, they reported 3 extra months. It is what it is. We will know after it receives better.”


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