Most Americans shopping for automobiles are seeing a very limited selection — and if they buy, they’ll have little leverage in negotiating the price.
According to fresh data from assisted commerce car buying app CoPilot, six of eight popular used vehicle categories are in scarce supply compared with a year ago. And it could be months before the pandemic’s historic impact on both used and new auto inventories starts to abate.
CoPilot recently conducted an analysis of more than four million cars listed for sale online and compared the relative supply and demand for all major vehicle types. (It was published in their February report). The analysis includes data and insights such as:
- It’s a seller’s market. Inventories of both new and used cars have been driven to historic lows by the pandemic. As a consequence, buyers face limited selection and little leverage in price negotiations in most categories. If a buyer balks on price, sellers know they can find another buyer.
- Inventories of brand-new cars and trucks began to stabilize a bit in January. But selection is still limited and buyers are paying close to sticker prices for popular models — often in addition to long waits for delivery.
- If you can, wait for better prices and more selection later this year … but given current inventory levels and supply chain disruptions from the pandemic, it’s not clear when that will happen, nor which vehicle categories will be first to replenish.
- If waiting isn’t an option, pay close attention to current pricing and inventory trends and consider something less popular than trucks, SUVs and crossovers. There are some relatively good buys out there, but they remain the exception. Your CoPilot can help you find them.
The study also reports that compared with before the coronavirus pandemic, dealer inventories have declined in most categories and the most popular vehicle categories- SUVs, crossovers and trucks — show the sharpest declines. But if you’re among those buyers looking for a sedan or hatchback, your selection has actually increased since before the pandemic.
More on the study: