August 17, 2022

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Maine automobile dealerships struggle with supply chain squeeze

AUGUSTA — As area automobile dealerships roll out income incentives tied to Presidents Working day, they continue on to encounter serious shortages of stock and pieces as they endure lengthy wait around occasions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic’s affect on the source chain.

Andy DuPont, vice president of profits at Charlie’s Motor Shopping mall on Western Avenue in Augusta, said shortages fueled by offer chain disruptions are influencing sellers who offer in all makes of vehicles — domestic or international.

“With Nissan, for instance, there ended up months the place they canceled all of their orders, or a few-quarters,” DuPont mentioned. “Or appropriate now, the new Pathfinder, they canceled orders for two months.”

Andy DuPont, vice president of gross sales at Charlie’s Motor Shopping mall on Western Avenue in Augusta, states automobile shortages fueled by offer chain disruptions are influencing sellers who offer in all manufacturers of cars — domestic or overseas. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

DuPont said orders are arriving inconsistently, also. If a person orders precise possibilities, these kinds of as a moonroof on a Pathfinder or heated seats on a Ford Escape, the cars might get there with no the objects or with only some of what was purchased.

The automobile scarcity was worsened lately when a cargo ship carrying about 1,300 luxury vehicles — Porsches, Audis, Bentleys and Lamborghinis — caught hearth Wednesday in the Atlantic Ocean as it steamed from Germany to Rhode Island. Since then, the even now-burning, 60,000-ton ship has been adrift close to Portugal’s Azores islands.

A fireplace at a huge microchip producing facility in Japan has also exacerbated difficulties for vehicle producers currently awaiting electrical elements employed in autos and vans.

Tom Brown, president of the Maine Automobile Sellers Affiliation in Augusta, reported centered on what he has read, the microchip shortage arrived as a shock to numerous auto manufactures and sellers.

“When the pandemic to start with came about, it was expected there would be considerably less demand from customers for new motor vehicles, but the reverse occurred,” Brown reported. “As individuals stayed property, or had to continue to be dwelling in the early pieces of the pandemic, there have been citizen purchases of all types of electronics that involve microchips, so generation obtained shifted.

“The vehicle sector thought their (product sales) would be a minimal much less, although the other electronics, these kinds of as telephones and personal computers, assumed theirs would be a minor far more, so orders for laptop chips went up.”

The pandemic has also slowed motor vehicle manufacturing and shipping as personnel or truckers have gotten sick with COVID-19 and missed substantial quantities of function, according to sector experiences.

“The market has not been immune to COVID-19,” Brown explained. “Employees get unwell. Customers of their spouse and children get unwell. If they get uncovered, they have to be away for a while. The employee absenteeism is not since they want to be (out of get the job done). It is due to the fact they have to be.”

Chris Accord of Accord Car & Self Storage at 530 Most important St. in Richmond compared it to baking a cake: If the eggs are missing, a cake can not be manufactured.If a company that would make important fobs can not get pieces, car are not able to be completed, shipped and marketed.

“Everything trickles down,” Accord reported. “If you have a truck, there literally can be a thousand elements. If you can not get just one (section) to total that truck as a entire, then you simply cannot provide it. Which is what transpired to a good deal of autos.”

He claimed organization at Accord Auto, which sells utilized motor vehicles, has been been hard all through the pandemic. The dealership has absent from getting “a good-sized vehicle whole lot to a quite, extremely small utilised automobile great deal.”

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

Finding used vehicles is no extended straightforward, according to sellers. With less people today investing cars thanks to the scarcity of new cars and trucks and trucks and skyrocketing selling prices, most applied automobiles now come from auctions.

Accord mentioned he has struggled to uncover employed cars that satisfy his dealership’s expectations for condition and mileage.

“It begun with COVID-19,” he explained. “I experienced a complete inventory, and would offer two vehicles and switch it with one. Then, I would promote four and switch it with one particular. Then, I would offer 8 and swap it with a single. Now, I’m down to a handful of automobiles, and I can’t replace it with the sort of stock I like to sell.”

Quite a few employed cars are selling for nearly the exact same price tag as new types mainly because of the meager stock of formerly owned vehicles, according to studies.

DuPont mentioned the reduced offer of vehicles and vehicles is creating some customers to settle for versions they did not intend to get.

Craig Drew of Drew’s New to You! at 319 Jap Ave. in Augusta claimed he has experienced similar difficulties preserving inventory on his income good deal. Just one remedy has been for him to invest in automobiles from other states.

“We have not experienced a lot of individuals offer their cars and trucks to us,” Drew said. “Because we are a scaled-down dealership, we are having difficulties to discover stock. We have searched the region. We have searched as considerably as California. Usually, we remain neighborhood, but in the earlier calendar year, we have experienced to research. We use local auctions below in Maine.”

Several clients on the lookout to invest in new or applied automobiles in central Maine mentioned the research has been tough.

Liz Tibbetts of Pittston said she and her spouse purchased a Ford Bronco in Oct 2020 and have but to consider delivery. She claimed acquiring a vehicle was “very challenging.”

Dave Colvin, also of Pittston, stated he resorted to obtaining a automobile in New Hampshire.

Meantime, auto dealers in central Maine explained they have no thought when the scarcity of new and utilised vehicles is likely to enhance.

“Everything I’ve listened to retains having pushed again,” Accord stated. “Six months in the past, they explained in 3 months (it would be corrected). And 3 months in the past, they mentioned 3 extra months. It is what it is. We will know the moment it receives much better.”


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