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Used cars sales in Richmond surge as dealers struggle to find supply

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Posted at 4:19 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 10:05:17-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Used car sales in the Metro Richmond area have skyrocketed due to a microchip shortage and changes in lifestyle for some families looking to own their first car, according to an analyst at ISeeCars.com.

Karl Brauer, an executive analyst at the cost-saving website, revealed through his study of consumer data that used car prices in June increased an unparalleled 33.8% or $7,318 in Richmond over last year.

“The supply side is constricted by computer chips, but demand has gone up for change in lifestyles from urban dwellers that used to use public transportation,” Brauer explained.

Used car pricing reflects a lack of used car supply because people aren’t buying new cars and trading in their existing car to create used cars, he said.

RELATED: A bargain hunter’s guide to used car shopping

Wendy Scott
Wendy Scott

Wendy Scott has experienced the shortage firsthand at her West Broad Street lot in Richmond. Normally, she would have at least 35 used cars for sale parked at Basic Auto RVA, but currently just ten cars are available for sale.

“Ten to 15 percent of people are always in the market for a car. Availability of quality vehicles and COVID is what dampened for us,” General Manager Scott explained. “We’ve made some good purchases and kept our quality, but of course we have limited availability. There’s just not as many cars on the lot for customers to choose from and that’s tough.”

ISeeCars’ study showed the top three used vehicles with the greatest price increases in Richmond are all trucks. Prices of used Ram 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and Toyota Tundra have all jumped more than 42 percent.

Convertibles and coupes were also high on the list, which corresponds with data nationwide.

“Trucks have his ultra-flexibility that let you do so many things. I also think they help people feel more safe and a little more protective during times of upheaval,” Brauer stated.

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A surge in demand for rental cars has also contributed to the lack of available used cars. Rental companies are holding on to their supply for longer and not putting them up for auction as often, Scott explained.

Scott hoped for some relief by Fall and Winter at the latest.

“I’m thinking September. When you ride by my lot again, you’ll see at least 10 to 15 more Cars available. And then the next month, 10 to 15 more,” she said.

Brauer urges anyone who is looking to buy a car, new or used, to be openminded and flexible with the specifics of the vehicle. Expand your search to further locations and be comfortable with not getting the color or certain features you want.