The Chip Shortage and The Aftermarket

The Chip Shortage and The Aftermarket

Drive by any new car lot and the evidence is clear – the auto industry may be the most visible victim of chip shortages.

The global microchip shortage has already or will soon impact nearly every aspect of consumer purchasing, though many consumers may be blissfully unaware of the crisis.

They may have started wondering why they have had trouble buying a new clothes dryer, freezer chest or even an electric toothbrush lately but, in many cases, haven’t put two and two together.

Consumers may soon find shortages of many of the most demanded electrical accessories,  because it seems like just about everything these days is “smart.”

According to a recent report from CNBC, “The severity of the global chip shortage has gone up a notch over the last few weeks and it’s now looking as though millions of people will be impacted. Demand for chips is continuing to outstrip supply and car makers are no longer the only companies feeling the pinch.” 

But, drive by any new car lot and the evidence is clear – the automotive industry may be the most visible victim of the chip shortage. 

We’ve all seen the surveillance images of thousands of brand-new 2021 Ford F-150 pickups parked in the infield of Kentucky Speedway – meanwhile, the local new car dealer has a few of its own new cars out at the front of the lot, while other brands of pre-owned vehicles are spaced strategically behind. 

Some vehicle manufacturers are offering high-end vehicles equipped with budget-model technology. Accessories that drivers may have learned to take for granted – ADAS, navigation systems and digital dashboards – are often simply unavailable.

The value of the used cars available in the market have skyrocketed. New car dealers are begging to take your used car off your hands, offering higher trade-in values than ever. Used car dealers are offering their stock at unseen pricing.

Customers who are torn between the prospect of buying a new vehicle at a premium price without the premium features they demand, or buying a used car that may not give them the satisfaction they demand from a vehicle, may feel they are in a lose-lose scenario.

In many cases, this conundrum results in a win for the aftermarket.

“People who should be in the market for a new car are, increasingly, fixing what’s wrong with the cars they already have,” says Laura Tierney from “This is great for the aftermarket – shops are in a situation where they’re as busy or busier than they’ve ever been because people just keep fixing their cars.”

As you look around your shop, it may be tempting to cash in on the desire for clean vehicles by selling your loaner cars for a quick-cash infusion. Laura, whose business is all about managing your fleet, cautions against this.

“Shops really need to weigh the revenue they can generate from customers who would bring in their vehicles if loaner transportation was available. You have an opportunity to make them happy even if you also need to wait for a part due to supply chain issues,” advises Laura.

“I’d suggest it makes sense to hold onto your loaner cars and – if you’re able to find them – buy even more. You’ll more than likely make it up in increased revenue.”

In today’s seller’s market it may make business sense to be a buyer. 

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