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 out of the factory.

Morrie’s Volkswagen of La Crosse is one of the dealerships the shortage affects.

“We sell new Volkswagen and new Audis and we’re probably down 60% of our supply,” said Ryan Riste, general manager at Morrie’s.

The chip shortage is affecting all parts of a car, Riste said, “from the driver assistance system to cruise control to the operating system.”

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

“With the vehicle prices going up, you have to remember that you’re also trading in at a high dollar as well,” said Austin Kurth, operations vice president at Coulee Auto.

The shortage has created a customer need for used cars.

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

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

“If you have a pretty flexible budget, most people like to stay between 30,000 to 80,000 miles while buying a used car,” Kurth said.

When buying a used car, people should get a third-party inspection, Kurth said.

“And they run you between 50 and a hundred bucks, but it might be the best money you ever spent if it saves you from buying an extremely problem-some car,” Kurth said.

Morrie’s says the shortage has created urgency, and people should act fast.

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

Morrie’s says flexibility when it comes to choices is key during the shortage and people should have two to three options prepared.

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