New car shortage expected well into 2022
'It's definitely unprecedented for sure'
If you're in the market for a new vehicle on P.E.I. you may have to wait a little longer than you would before the pandemic.
Supply chain delays mostly involving a shortage of microchips means there are fewer cars to buy across the country.
"We're definitely feeling the effects, we've been pretty lucky up until three or four weeks ago," said Tammy Roach, general manager at Charlottetown Mitsubishi.
"Although our inventory levels certainly aren't where they normally would be, we've been able to provide vehicles to our customers so most of the vehicles coming in off the truck are pre-sold to a customer."
The days of walking onto a lot and driving away that day with your dream car are over for now. But pre-selling has been working well — her sales are actually up this year, she said.
Though it does mean customers can expect to wait longer to bring their vehicle home, especially for cars with more features.
"Once they decide what they want to buy, put your name on it because it's going to sell … but expect to wait a couple weeks to a few months for your vehicle to come in," she said.
The delays are largely due to a shortage of semiconductor microchips. They're used in everything from appliances to video game consoles and cars.
As the pandemic continues, people are spending more time inside and buying more electronics — only increasing demand for the chips.
The sales lot is normally full of new vehicles at Centennial Mazda in Charlottetown, but recently it's sparse, according to sales manager Jordan Cronkite.
"Normally I'd have probably about a hundred new vehicles in stock on the lot and we're down to about eight currently, definitely a pretty big cut from what we normally have … it's definitely unprecedented, for sure," Cronkite said.
"Now the hope is that this isn't going to last for too much longer, hopefully the worst of it will be behind us here pretty soon."
The P.E.I. Automobile Dealers Association said Island dealerships have fared well compared to other provinces, and that the sales process has adapted to fit the new challenges.
"I think dealers do the best to accommodate them, whether it's a similar used vehicle, or a similar one they might have on the lot or even a staff vehicle. You know we have sales people using their own vehicles for customers just to try out," the association's Adam Toner said.
The group has advice for people looking to buy or trade in a leased vehicle.
"Talk to the dealership is the biggest thing, because if you're just going online and looking around it's not as clear as it once was before," Toner said.
"If you're looking to maybe do something in the next six to 12 months maybe start now as far as looking at your different options and things, because if you do have to look at ordering a vehicle that might take some time."
With files from Brittany Spencer