Car dealerships work to fill empty car lots

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New and used car dealerships have rolled with the punches for the pandemic for the past eighteen months, but the end isn’t in sight yet.

Dealers in Albuquerque said keeping inventory on their lots remains a major challenge for them.

"It’s challenging,” said Erick Gutierrez, the owner of Authentic Auto Sales in Albuquerque. “Just the simple fact that I have to keep my prices competitive.”

Gutierrez said he has had to travel to Texas and Arizona for cars for the first time in his six years of owning the used car shop, in order to help keep his lot full.

“It’s just a new way of doing business,” he said. “You just have to work harder."

New car dealers also attribute their challenges to factory personnel cuts at the height of the pandemic, and the shortage of microchips for new models.

"The entire distribution system shut down so the demand was still there, but then the cars kind of disappeared,” said Darin Wade, the general manager and Vice President of sales for Rich Ford.

Those challenges have also trickled down to the consumer. Dealers are encouraging them to look and buy online, while the inventory shortage continues.

Dealers like Ford have set up specific programs to allow you to reserve the vehicle online, and have it show up at your local dealer with your name on it.

"It’s a real simple process on how that gets done and then that vehicle ends up coming in and they get our vehicle before we get ours,” said Wade.

Both dealers agree their lots could stay relatively empty for at least a few more months.

"I just feel like prices are going to keep going up,” said Gutierrez. “I don’t see it coming to an end, I really don’t."