Spiking interest rates combined with a still-present chip shortage is keeping car prices high at dealerships across the area, according to experts. (Photo from Facebook)

People buying used cars while waiting for their dream car to come in; old cars worth more today than when they were purchased years ago – today’s car market couldn’t be more unprecedented or unpredictable, according to experts at several area dealerships.

Prices for new and used vehicles skyrocketed during the early months of the pandemic while automakers coped with supply chain issues and a chip shortage, according to a Nerd Wallet article.

While some of the worst supply-chain related issues might be behind the industry, spiking interest rates combined with a still-present chip shortage mean high prices aren’t going away anytime soon, according to local experts.

“There’s still a shortage of new cars,” said Andy Ortiz, a salesperson with Tommie Vaughn Motors, a local car dealership at 1201 N Shepherd Drive. “That means new car prices are staying high.”

New vehicle prices reached a record level in August, with the average price reaching $46,259, according to an Oct. 5 article in NBC News. 

People are calling the dealership from across the country seeking new cars and some have even turned to purchasing used vehicles while they spend the 10 to 12 months waiting on a new car order to come in, Ortiz said.

Spiking prices, especially as interest rates remain high, are forcing some buyers into unprecedented situations as they seek cars, according to an expert at another dealership.

One dealership purchased a used Volkswagen several years ago for internal use that had about 20,000 miles, according to someone who spoke with the Leader. Now, having an extra 30,000 miles on it, the car is worth more than when it was first purchased, according to interviews.

Because of high prices and interest rates, prospective buyers are forced to pay with bigger down payments and face higher monthly charges than they would have several years ago, according to experts.

Despite the current conditions, Ortiz argued prospective buyers are still better off looking for cars now rather than waiting several months in hopes that prices will decline.

For one, dealerships will have a dip in inventory during the shift from 2022 models to those from 2023 in coming months, he said. And no one knows how much higher interest rates will climb, he said.

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