Car Dealerships Experiencing Low Inventory During Pandemic

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GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI)- Whether its cars, trucks, or SUVs, they’re all rolling off the the lot at Cannon Lincoln Ford of Starkville.

But as they roll out, new cars must roll in to keep the inventory stocked.

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That’s a key problem Michael Joe Cannon is running into.

“Normally we try to run a 90 day supply meaning if you’re going to sell 50 cars a month, you want to have 150 on the lot,” said Cannon, owner of Cannon Lincoln Ford of Starkville. “Right now we’re probably at a 45 day supply, so if you sell 50, we’d be lucky to have 75 on the ground at this time.”

Cannon said right now they’re low on trucks and SUVs.

The issue causing the low inventory stems from production being halted after manufacturing plants were forced to shutdown during the start of the pandemic.

Most have started back up again, but the vehicles are now being shipped at slower rate than they were prior to the pandemic.

“They’re starting to ramp back up, the manufacturers, some of them are at 33 percent, some of them are at 50 percent, and some of them are even at 75 percent,” said Cannon. “As they ramp up, we’ll begin to get some inventory in.”

However, it’s not just Cannon experiencing low inventory, Russell Street said he’s having similar issues at Columbus Nissan.

“We had a little higher supply when this started so I had enough to weather the storm,” said Street, general manager of Columbus Nissan. “My inventory did dip about 20 percent, however, because I was full at the time I still had plenty to meet demand.”

The longtime car dealer said their shortage is low for both new and used cars.

While things are looking slim for the moment, Street said the low inventory hasn’t had a negative impact on business or customers.

“Customers have had no really bad effects from inventory,” Street explained. “You see a little less traffic, but what traffic does come out have been people buying because of the deals that the manufacturers are running and the low rates.”

“Not many times we’re not able to get you exactly what you want, you just may have to give us a little bit more time to do that, we can’t maybe run over here to our local dealer, or run down here or up there, it may take a little while but overall people understand, they understand we’re in a pandemic,” said Cannon.

Cannon said he expects inventory to pick back up by mid-September.