Patience may be a virtue, but it’s likely even the most forbearing car shoppers are fed up with empty dealer lots and stubbornly high prices both for new and used vehicles. We reported in 2021 on the factors responsible for the ongoing inventory shortage, along with advice for prospective car buyers. As the vehicle shortage drags on, we’re updating you on the current status of the market and addressing the pressing questions:
- When will inventory stabilize and car prices drop?
- Should you wait to buy a car?
- What can you do if putting off a car purchase isn’t feasible?
Although we ain’t got no crystal ball to see exactly when this erratic market will turn a corner, a look at the current conditions and expert forecasts help to shed some light on whether shoppers should brave the storm or wait it out until conditions improve.
What’s the Status Today?
According to a December 2021 report from analytics firm IHS Markit, U.S. inventory levels are at their lowest levels since the global financial crisis of the late 2000s, but the needle is moving in the right direction for vehicle production. Although the microchip shortage continues to be a significant disruptor, automakers are learning to adapt to the tight supply to keep production lines moving. Sooner-than-anticipated restoration of semiconductor manufacturing in Asia may ease the chip shortage to some degree in 2022. (You can think of semiconductors and microchips interchangeably, though the former has a simpler core meaning.)