Car Industry sputters as the pandemic causes sales to stall

NOW: Car Industry sputters as the pandemic causes sales to stall

ELKHART, Ind. --- In Elkhart County, we have seen the RV industry do nothing, but break records virtually every month of this pandemic. On the flip side of that, we have seen the car industry struggle, as fewer residents opt for car purchases with so much uncertainty in the county. 

This has left dealerships, new and used, to tamper sales expectations and scale back inventory, as they continue to recover. 

"I've noticed probably a 50% decrease from previous years, and by that, I'm going over the last three years," said the owner of Main Street Motors, Ian Schrader. 

Adversely from the RV industry, local car dealerships in the county are feeling the Covid-19 impact. With many seeing stalled sales and limited inventory to protect themselves. 

"I would say that our inventory is down about 60%. Like I said we carry probably, in the area of 25 cars with regularity, month in month out. Now we're probably averaging 10 to 12 units per-month on a rolling average," said Schrader. 

The car industry is no different than others.

The pandemic has taken its' toll, and as more prepare brace for a potential second shutdown, car purchases are the last thing on the mind of a consumer. 

"I think that it's primarily due to consumer confidence as it relates towards the pandemic and security of their job. Which I wholeheartedly agree with, and can certainly understand. Christmas time obviously is not a great time of the year to expect me to buy what I would call a luxury," said Schrader. 

The holiday season, along with tax season, are two of the most popular times of the year when drivers either buy or upgrades vehicles. This season will be different though, as uncertainty surrounding job security and financial stability, have made dealerships realize the current outlook isn't favorable. 

"When their fear that they may get laid off for a period of time, and with the uncertainty, as far as any stimulus package that may come. I think that draws them back into necessity driven items, verses, luxury items like upgrading a car," said Schrader. 

You may have heard the old saying "If it ain't broke don't fix it", and it is that sentiment dealerships are sharing throughout the industry. 

"I agree with their choice, as far as being wise, that hey my car runs. Let's just stay where I'm at now, versus, let's upgrade this car to newer and possibly better," said Schrader. 

Despite the slow sales, dealership owners are confident things will improve. They are still recovering, but feel the situation will be okay unless a second shutdown occurs. 

A situation everybody in the industry, and the county, is looking to avoid at all costs. 

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