NJ car dealerships and repair shops still grappling with major delays

If you’re looking for a vehicle in the Garden State, don’t expect the dealership to move much from the list price.

Also, don’t expect to show up at a dealership and find a slew of cars that need a home.

In fact, you might end up buying a vehicle that isn’t completely finished on the manufacturing side.

The same labor and supply chain issues that have plagued the auto industry for several months continue to strangle supply, while demand for vehicles remains high.

At the same time, repair shops say there’s no real trend of parts shortages they’re facing – but there are plenty of them and they could keep some drivers away for a while, if their repair is related to a security problem.

“From what the experts are telling us and the manufacturers are telling us, it should be 2023 that we will see respite from the lack of supply of auto parts, and vehicles as well,” Ed Barlow, of Barlow Automotive Grouptold New Jersey 101.5.

According to Barlow, issues on the parts side have improved slightly over the past month or so. But the flow of operations is far from optimal.

“(Manufacturers) can’t make enough of certain parts, and/or they actually have logistical issues moving parts through their franchise network,” he said.

With new cars, Barlow added, some parts are limited or removed from the process. For example, an automaker might ship a vehicle that offers heated seats, but the chip needed to run this feature won’t be installed until the vehicle already has an owner.

Car sales in New Jersey are down about 30% from a year ago, despite strong demand, according to Jim Appleton, president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers.

“Dealers sell pretty much everything on their lot and sell everything when it comes off the motor carrier as soon as it gets to the dealership,” Appleton said.

And if people find it difficult to get into new cars, they don’t get out of their old cars, which means the supply of used vehicles is also limited.

“My advice to consumers is to start the process early,” Appleton added. “If you’re desperate to get into a new car right now, that’s not a good situation.”

For decades, he said, consumers viewed the manufacturer’s suggested retail price as exactly that — a suggestion. Today, for the most part, there is not much room for negotiation.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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