Global computer car chip shortage is affecting Hawaiian car dealerships

HONOLULU (KHON2) – The lack of a global computer car ship is limiting the number of new cars arriving in the islands which is affecting selection for consumers, and dealers don’t know when it will be better.

There are more empty slots where new vehicles must be parked, and people can’t see the car of their dreams. At least that was the case with Honolulu resident Marv Fernandez when he started car shopping a few months back.

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“Now you look for a certain car, and there’s no stock,” Fernandez said. “Or there’s only one left and it’s not the car you really wanted to buy.”

New cars are limited across the board due to the lack of a computer chip. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, car manufacturing plants closed and chip makers turned to other products.

“The chip maker said I got to sell these chips,” said University of Hawaii Manoa School of Travel Industry Management professor Dr. Jerry Agrusa said. “And they started selling them to other entities, computers, video game companies, phones.”

Charles Lee, general manager of Servco Toyota, said the automaker allocates cars to them monthly. Still, the inventory is very small compared to pre-COVID pandemic.

“Inventory, I believe, is closer to what we normally have around 2,000,” Lee said. “And right now, we have our inventory, which is actually being sold or being sold, about a thousand.”

Limited supply has also changed the way people buy new cars. More buyers are ordering custom cars and choosing the color and finish of their choice.

“Customers are shopping online,” Lee said. “Come to the showroom floor, and we can take an order for you. To order a vehicle specific to your needs and options and colors.”

Lee said it could take about three to four months for customers to order and be delivered.

While waiting isn’t always ideal for buyers, at least they have a say in what they buy and don’t stick to what’s available on the lot.

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“I understand that COVID is here, I still have to be patient that the car is coming either way,” Fernandez said.

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