Used car prices around the country have surged and Hickory has not been spared.
“It’s a war zone, especially at auction,” said Tim Thomas, the general manager of Randy Marion Sav-A-Lot in Hickory.
The spike in prices is driven, he said, by the microchip shortage that is affecting the market for new vehicles and creating increased demand for used vehicles.
“I could say it’s a little frustration because there’s more obstacles because right now, like I said, there’s not a lot of used car inventory out there so trying to find the right car for the right person, now it’s kind of tough,” Thomas said of the situation.
The inventory crunch is such that the dealership, which previously kept around 220 cars on the lot, was down to between 110 and 120.
Thomas pointed to a Ram truck with 10,000 miles. A year ago the vehicle would have sold somewhere in the upper $30,000s but was now up in the mid-$40,000s.
Other dealers are reporting a similar situation.
Jared Dietz, vice president of Viewmont Auto Sales, said the market is unlike anything the store has seen since they opened 20 years ago.
“We’re getting a little thin on inventory just because, you know, at some point the market is going to turn and we don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of stuff we’ve overpaid for,” Dietz said. “It’s funky for sure but stuff has just been bringing crazy money at auction.”
In many cases, Dietz said other dealers have been willing to pay him higher prices than the ones he is hoping to sell the vehicles for to the public.
He said Viewmont auto is taking a cautious approach.
“Just trying to play it safe right now and we can sit on the sidelines a little while if we need to,” Dietz said. “We’re a pretty small operation.”
Dillon Beaver, a sales manager at the Hickory Used Car Superstore, said things were going very well.
“We’ve sold more cars and made more money than we’ve ever made,” Beaver said.
Beaver recalled a dealer in Ohio coming to the dealership in Hickory to get a vehicle because the ones in his area were too costly.
None of these dealers has a clear idea of when exactly the high prices will subside.
“No one knows anything,” Beaver said.
Kevin Griffin is the City of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.