New or used? Trying to save $$? Channel 11 gets you answers on buying a car during the chip shortage

PITTSBURGH — The car industry is very difficult to navigate right now. You may be debating between a new or used car and how to get the best price. So we went to the experts to get you answers.

“I’ve already put in all this time and I’ve ordered this truck,” said Christopher Weck, who owns a small business. “I just don’t know, like, what if I buy something else and then this thing becomes available?”

Christopher Weck has played the waiting game for months. He ordered a Ford Bronco similar to this one to help with his small business, but it’s still not built. Christopher owns a candy store in Pittsburgh and his car isn’t cutting it. He needs more room for hauling supplies to special events.

“I had to make multiple trips just to get things back and forth,” said Weck.

Like the rest of the country, Christopher is caught up in the unprecedented computer chip shortage that’s plaguing the auto industry, two years into the pandemic.

“I think every dealership was hoping that this would have gotten better by the beginning of the year,” said Luke Kim, general manager of Mike Kelly Automotive in Butler.

Kim said that it doesn’t mean you’re out of luck for a new vehicle. However, Kim says be careful, as some dealers are starting to charge you thousands of dollars above a new vehicle’s sticker price – something he doesn’t think is fair. But what could end up saving you thousands of dollars is your trade-in.

“We’re absolutely looking for inventory, yes,” said Kim. “There have been some amazing deals that customers are able to get right now, because of the values of their vehicles.”

So what if you’re shopping for a used car? I sat down with Emilie Voss of CARFAX, who broke down pricing for a used vehicle here in Pittsburgh. A used sedan in 2020 that cost you $15,300 now costs you $20,300. And a used SUV in 2020 that cost $19,500 is now $28,000. But doing your homework can help in negotiations.

“You want to know what that vehicle has been through,” said Voss.

She said CARFAX Accident Reports can tell you the extent of an accident and if it’s minor, you could shave about $400 off the price tag. In the end, she said, it’s all about patience, a lesson Christopher and his small business have already learned.

“I just keep hoping that eventually it’s gonna come through,” Weck said. “Until then I just tough it out and just filling up the back seat, the front seat and everything I can in the trunk.”

I also asked Luke if people were starting to trade in their SUVs for cars, because of the high gas prices. He said not yet.  He said Pittsburgers still want all-wheel drive, but if gas prices get above $5, he says that could change.