U.S. car sales have dipped to levels not seen since the Great Recession as ongoing supply shortages hamper automotive production worldwide, strangling inventories while dealers attempt to salvage whatever revenue they can by increasing margins on the few vehicles they’re able to stock.
Even a careful perusal of Q3 and September sales figures (Automotive News subscription required) reveals virtually no good news; even Toyota’s slight improvement is tenuous at best. While many raw materials and basic components have been in short supply since the pandemic crippled worldwide logistics, the primary culprit in the ongoing automotive production slowdown is computer chips. While some have been quick to point fingers at electric vehicles and other high-tech offerings, the shortage hasn’t really discriminated.
As of the end of September, the industry is still up more than 13% compared to a year ago, but there’s a catch: Sales through Q3 of 2020