New car sales down 10% in CO because of supply constraints


DENVER — Getting a new car these days requires a lot of patience.

“Things have not really improved, and we’re seeing the chip problem is still an issue across all manufacturers,” Kevin Shaughnessy, vice president of operations and partner at Phil Long Dealerships, said.

Supply and labor constraints continue to put a dent on new car inventory across the state.

According to the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, new car sales were down 10% statewide, and 15% nationally, in the first quarter.

“It’s not a problem on demand. Demand for cars is as high as it ever, ever has been. But we have a supply problem,” CEO Tim Jackson said.

While Shaughnessy’s Ford store in Denver isn’t doing as badly as the statewide figure, his new car inventory is limited.

“We’ve got more than 100 and some here at this location. We have about twice that many used cars,” he said.

And that’s more than what some other dealerships have, with some reporting they have zero to only a few new cars on the lot.

Because of this demand, dealerships are pre-ordering vehicles for customers, which may come with wait times of weeks or months.

“It was a slice of the business [before the pandemic]. That might be 10% or 15% of the business. Now, we’re seeing about 70-80% of the business are people custom ordering what they want because the selections are low,” Shaughnessy said.

When things will improve depends on who you ask. Shaughnessy says he expects it’ll happen within the next year. Jackson has a more dire outlook.

“I don’t think it’s going to correct in 2022 and it may not get completely corrected in 2023,” he said. “It might be 2024 before we’re back to a more normalized market in the automotive sector.”

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