Breaking News
More () »

Fewer cars in lots, more made to order: The pandemic changed car buying

Duval Ford, like other dealerships, have way fewer cars in inventory than previous years. Inventory is down and prices are up because of pandemic ripple effects.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Car dealerships are looking emptier than usual and car prices seem to be on the rise. You can blame the pandemic and the impacts it has had on production lines. 

Duval Ford's general manager says they have about half the cars and trucks it would have in the lot than in 2019. General Manager Jose Negron says inventory is down, but now customers are coming in and ordering exactly what they want.

“What is it we did in the past that we could have done better?" Negron asked. "The pandemic and post-pandemic has allowed us to understand that we maybe didn’t need 600 cars on the ground at all times.”

The business model is changing at Duval Ford. Negron says instead of wandering around the lot looking to test drive a car, customers are coming in knowing exactly what they want and are willing to wait up to seven months for the vehicle.

“By the time that people reach us, it is actually more accommodating to what they really want to do rather than what we want to sell," Negron explains.

He says the current market is less focused on finding a good price, it’s about finding the car you want in the first place.

Their waitlist has hundreds of names for certain models of vehicles. 

Negron says their most in demand vehicle is a Super duty F250/350 type of vehicle. 

A new survey by ISeeCars.com says a Mercedes-Benz GLB is the fastest selling new car in Jacksonville and a Corvette is the fasted selling used car locally.

“There used to be a time where you would have to come to a dealership and sit with somebody like myself or a sales person and look at what we have available today. That’s a little antiquated at this point. Most of the research has been done and started at home," Negron says. 

How did we get to this point? He explains this began when the pandemic did. Production lines slowed down. There are fewer parts available causing delays of cars getting to lots meaning fewer trade ins and a shortage on used cars.

 That brings us to low inventory and higher prices. Negron says some in demand vehicles' prices have inflated 20 to 25 percent over the last 12 months.