When will the chip shortage end? Should you wait to buy a new car? Experts weigh in

HOUSTON, Texas — You’ve probably noticed that some auto dealerships are nearly empty. Why? The microchips that go into cars are still scarce.

As the shortage continues, car prices are rising, leaving many people wondering when the shortage will be over and when is the right time to buy.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” said Alan Helfman, the president of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep Dodge and Ram.

This chip shortage has changed the game he knows well. For starters, he has a fraction of the inventory he did before the little bits of technology became so hard to come by.

Helfman says he would normally have 650 to 700 vehicles in stock, but now it’s “probably 100 (vehicles)”.

Less supply means higher prices. So if you’re looking for a new ride, should you wait?

“If I personally made the decision, I’d wait another year and a half,” said Margaret Kidd, a supply chain and logistics professor at the University of Houston.

She said labor shortages and availability of raw materials play a role in the ongoing problem.

“I don’t see it getting better any time soon. I’m estimating 18 to 24 months before you start seeing those cars full of all those beautiful colors and great selection,” Kidd said.

Kidd said there is light at the end of the tunnel for chip shortages, but how we buy and sell cars could change.

“Americans have become very spoiled and they are used to a lot of people trading in their cars every few years and our new reality is that that is a luxury,” Kidd explains.

She said automakers are focusing on their most profitable models, so there will be less to choose from.

“The new normal will probably mean a little less selection, but it will definitely improve from where we are now,” Kidd said.

A silver lining of the shortfall is when you have a used car to sell…

“We have little used cars, so we need used cars, so we pay. We work it out. Especially if you have a nice clean car, low mileage, even with a lot of mileage,” Helfman said.

So if you’re in a position to have one less set of wheels, you can cash in while the chips don’t fall.

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