BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Editor
Buying or leasing a car these days can be challenging, but one local dealership wants to help consumers tackle these issues by providing answers to commonly asked questions.
One of the biggest challenges currently is a national vehicle shortage due to an ongoing shortage of microchips, which has led to low inventory levels of vehicles at automotive dealerships across the country. The microchip shortage began due to the increased demand for personal electronics that has taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over the last several months, the Bowman Chevrolet team has worked hard to keep a steady stream of new and used vehicles coming into the dealership,” said Bowman Chevrolet General Manager Rhonda Jensen. “While customers may be used to visiting the dealership and seeing hundreds of vehicles on the lot, that has changed in recent months, but it doesn’t mean we can’t help a customer find a vehicle.
“The dealership uses a vehicle tracking system from GM that helps monitor what’s available and where a specific vehicle is in transit from the plant. This allows our customers to shop and purchase vehicles before they arrive on our lot.”
Jensen added that customers have options when it comes to getting into a new vehicle.
“Suppose a consumer is interested in leasing or purchasing a specific model in a particular color or with particular features,” said Jensen. “In that case, we recommend they begin looking six months before they would like to take a new vehicle home. This lead time will help our team find the vehicle they want or order a custom-built vehicle directly from the plant.
“If buyers can be flexible, it can mean the difference between getting a vehicle now or having to wait several weeks. Due to the shortage, we’re seeing customers look at and test drive vehicles that may not have considered in the past and finding the new perfect fit for their family. If a customer is adamant about getting a particular vehicle type, our sales team is here every day to assist them in locating those vehicles and getting their names placed on incoming cars. When the microchips become available, these customers will already be on the list to receive their desired vehicle by working with our sales professionals.”
The used car market is also changing, according to Jensen.
“Much like the new car market, the used car market is seeing inventory shortages due to high demand,” Jensen said. “We often have a strong pipeline of used vehicles due to customers turning in their leased vehicles, but people are holding on to those vehicles a bit longer and it’s impacting supply.
“With this said, there is an argument to be made that there has never been a better time to sell your vehicle as the value will likely never be higher. Dealerships are paying customers a premium for used vehicles, allowing people to sell or trade their current models for something newer or a different style entirely. If a customer has a particular used vehicle in mind and can be flexible with timing, our team can also shop auctions and work with other lease turn in companies to purchase a specific make and model if and when they become available.”
In addition, one tip Jensen offers is to make car care a priority for your vehicle.
“Routine maintenance, like regular and consistent oil changes, tire rotation, and even detailing the interior and exterior, can help extend the life of a vehicle,” Jensen said. “One point we continually stress to our customers is that if you’re holding onto a vehicle, it’s imperative to remember these simple yet crucial service visits to get the most out of your car, truck or SUV and help keep its value high.
“Neglecting oil changes, for example, can affect the engine’s performance, which can lead to more extensive and more costly repairs. If a leased vehicle is turned in and has not been properly maintained, it can result in lease turn in fines much higher than proactive maintenance will cost a customer. Not maintaining a vehicle you own can also significantly lower your vehicle’s value.”
Bowman Chevrolet is located at 6750 Dixie Highway and can also be found online at BowmanChevy.com or by calling 248-625-5071.