East Texas car dealerships see rebound from chip shortages

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Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 1:57 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 5, 2022 at 11:12 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - While an industry-wide chip shortage still persists, car dealerships are finally starting to see an improvement to the situation that affected inventory at the end of the 2021 model year and the first quarter of 2022. Chelsea Negley of Lufkin Ford says pandemic related shortage has turned around within the last month.

“The chip shortage is definitely improving from what we saw during COVID,” said Negley. “We have seen a big increase in vehicles that we are getting in and they are prioritizing customer orders.”

Ford was one manufacturer in particular that was affected by the shortage. According to a CNBC report, Ford’s U.S. sales of new vehicles declined 17% during the first quarter, including a 26 percent slide last month. With the incentive to sell their three newest models in 2022, Negley said the company as a whole is actively looking for ways to mitigate the chip shortage.

“With the new vehicles that Ford has come out with, the Ford F150 Lightning, the all electric, we’ve got the Mach-E which is an all electric mustang, the Bronco,” said Negley. “They are really pushing to new venues to see where they can get the chips and how they can get them the quickest, and they have shown that they are able to do that.”

According to the same CNBC report, Ford is among the last of the major automakers to report its march and first-quarter sales. On Monday, Ford reported first-quarter sales of 432,132 vehicles, including 159,328 units in March. Here in East Texas, Negley said that while sales are back on track, there are permanent changes leftover from the pandemic shortages that are here to stay, such as fewer cars on the lot and more direct customer orders.

“It won’t ever be what it used to be,” said Negley. “That’s something that Ford wants to drive forward. They want the customer to come in and get exactly what they want, they want to have the customer order if they want to do that, but then at the same time we will have more vehicles on the ground.”

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