La Crosse dealerships say ‘newly used’ cars are in demand as chip shortage continues

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – A lack of semiconductor chips is causing an alarming shortage of new cars, but people can still get a car even if it’s not fresh from the factory.

La Crosse de Morrie’s Volkswagen is one of the dealerships affected by the shortage.

“We’re selling new Volkswagens and new Audis and we’ve probably lost 60% of our supply,” said Ryan Riste, managing director of Morrie’s Volkswagen.

Riste says the chip shortage affects every part of a car.

“From the driver assistance system to the cruise control to the operating system,” Riste said.

According to Coulee Auto, the shortage has driven new car prices up 30-40% since last year, but people can trade in their car for a higher value.

“With vehicle prices rising, you have to remember that you’re also trading at a high dollar,” said Coulee Auto vice president of operations Austin Kurth.

The shortage has created a customer need for used cars.

“They know there’s a shortage of new cars, so they’re specifically looking for a low-mileage used car,” Riste said.

People can buy “newly used” cars: cars that are a new model, but have fewer miles.

“If you have a fairly flexible budget, most people like to drive between 30 and 80,000 miles when buying a used car,” Kurth said.

When buying a used car, Coulee Auto says people should have it inspected by a third party.

“And they cost you $50 to $100, but that might be the best money you’ll ever spend if it saves you from buying a hugely problematic car,” Kurth said.

Morrie’s says the shortage has created an emergency and people should act quickly.

“It’s no joke, where you have to be here and if you’re serious, you have to buy this car now. He may not be here tomorrow,” Riste said.

Morrie’s says flexibility in choice is key during the shortage and people should have two to three options prepared.

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