Car Deals Vanished During the Pandemic. They’re Coming Back.

Automakers and dealers are starting to offer discounts, low-interest loans and other incentives to lure buyers as the supply of cars grows.

For much of the last four years, automakers and their dealers had so few cars to sell — and demand was so strong — that they could command high prices. Those days are over, and hefty discounts are starting a comeback.

During the coronavirus pandemic, auto production was slowed first by factory closings and then by a global shortage of computer chips and other parts that lasted for years.

With few vehicles in showrooms, automakers and dealers were able to scrap most sales incentives, leaving consumers to pay full price. Some dealers added thousands of dollars to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, and people started buying and flipping in-demand cars for a profit.

But with chip supplies back to healthy levels, auto production has rebounded and dealer inventories are growing. At the same time, higher interest rates have dampened demand for vehicles. As a result, many automakers are scrambling to keep sales rolling.

Wes Lutz, owner of Extreme Dodge in Jackson, Mich., said he had several Dodge Challengers and Chargers that were eligible for $11,000 discounts from Stellantis, the manufacturer of Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Ram models. The automaker is also offering discounts of up to $3,600 on certain versions of the Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle.

“It seems like we may be headed back toward incentives and overproduction,” Mr. Lutz said. “It’s not there yet, but it’s getting close.”

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Source: Economy -


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