New car buyers continue to see low inventory across Hawaii

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The holidays are typically a good time to buy a new car, but car dealership lots remain empty.

On the Valley Isle, Jim Falk Motors in Kahului had to downsize its lot.

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“We’re down 80% of what our inventory is normally,” explained Danny Asao, general manager at Jim Falk Motors. “I mean, we usually have a storage lot full of vehicles, and today, we don’t have any.”

He said some models are not readily available due to production and manufacturing delays because of the microchip shortage.

“They build the vehicle and they put them on the side, and when the microchips are available, then they’ll put them in and send the vehicles to us, but it’s at that critical point,” Asao continued.

Asao said some vehicles require 1,800 microchips, so some manufacturers have gotten rid of comfort features.

“For the most part, I think they keep most of the safety items available because that’s important, obviously,” Asao continued.

Demand for new cars is very high, so prices are not budging much. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average car price is over $45,000 — which is the highest ever.

Asao recommends that new buyers go to the car dealership lot and check out the inventory they have.

“Either choose it from the pipeline of vehicles coming in, or even just build one from scratch. More than half of our customers are doing that today because of the microchip shortage,” Asao said.

He said some cars, like Cadillacs, sell out before they even reach the dealership lot. Additionally, other popular vehicles right now include a Chevy Silverado, Ford Ranger, Jeep Wrangler, Nissan Frontier, Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, GMC Sierra and the Ford F-Series.

“Those are just tough to stay on the lot,” Asao noted. “As soon as they come, they’re gone.”

Since most people are struggling to get their hands on a new car, or having difficulty affording one, they are holding onto their vehicles as long as they can and mechanics have been extremely busy.

“Our regular customers are hanging onto their cars, and I have one customer who told me his Sienna van is on a six-month backorder,” explained, Frank Young, owner of K&Y Auto Service located in Kakaako.

Young said they have a bumpy road ahead too.

“We have issues getting parts, auto parts, whether it’s the tire, something with the brakes,” Young explained.

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Young also said cars can last decades, but if people are unable to pass a safety check, then it might be time to get a new car.

“Customers just have to be patient and just maintain your cars; if you don’t want to buy a new car, maintain your car,” Young advises.

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