- inventories for the upcoming model year are far below what they were last year as a result of reveal and production delays.
- issues with vehicles inventories, both new and used, have become a common problem at dealers across the country in recent months.
- the cycle for new vehicles reaching dealer lots has been pushed back, but 2021s could soon be more bountiful at dealerships.
this past spring, automakers delayed new product reveals as uncertainty loomed; at that point, there was no saying when factories would be able to return to production or how demand for new vehicles would be impacted by a largely unprecedented recession. now that some semblance of normalcy has returned to the auto industry, 2021-model-year vehicles are reaching dealer lots, but much slower and later than they did last year.
during this same week in 2019, more than 11 percent of new-vehicle inventory in dealer lots was made up of 2020 models. currently, only 2 percent of current inventory are 2021 models, according to an analysis from cox automotive.
"they’re just sort of behind. the white-collar workers are behind in planning the model-year rollovers; the factories have had a difficult time getting the supply chain up to speed," charlie chesbrough, cox automotive senior economist, told car and driver. “i think some of it is the manufacturers themselves just said, 'let's not introduce new problems, let's just try and get back to production of our old vehicles.' "
chesbrough also noted that dealers are having a tougher time getting through new inventory from last year as opposed to the year prior. currently, 2.3 percent of new vehicles sold as new are 2019s, while last year, only 1.6 percent were 2018s.
in recent months, issues with vehicle inventories have come to the forefront at dealerships across the country, both with new and used vehicles. more expensive vehicles have been particularly depleted, since buyers with higher incomes have been less impacted by the economic downturn compared to those with lower incomes. mid-size pickups such as the toyota tacoma and chevrolet colorado are under the most strain.
simultaneously, demand for used vehicles has made a swift recovery. that demand has been compounded by buyers in the market for new vehicles who are opting to buy a used vehicle since they can't find what they're looking for. "the used market is experiencing a dramatic recovery: used vehicles were sitting almost untouched at the start of the pandemic, and now they're practically flying off dealer lots," jessica caldwell, edmunds.com executive director of insights, said in a note.
nonetheless, now that automakers have returned to almost full production and have revealed their 2021 lineups, it is expected that dealer lots will soon have a closer to normal level of 2021 models. "my guess is that we will start to see more of the normal model-year rollover activities start to happen," chesbrough said. "i just think we’re going to see it as a continuous delay throughout the course of the fall, versus what is normal for this time of the year."