Dealerships see rise in need for used cars with strong industry

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Credit: WINK News.

Auto sales in Southwest Florida are booming. Some dealers saying they’ve had their best months ever, but now there’s a shortage of used cars.

We looked at why now might be the right time to trade up from your used car.

”Inventory is definitely a big problem,” Rob Oteri said. “It’s really hard to get used cars right now.”

Oteri, the general manager at Gulf Coast Motorworks in Bonita Springs, kept running, but there’s a different bump in the road.

It’s what some auto dealerships are calling an unbelievable shortage at least due in part to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The new car stores, the franchises being shut down, the factories being closed, them not having enough new car products, so they were buying used ones to fill the gap of sale,” Oteri explained.

It’s leaving buyers such as Franklin Bass with a tighter selection and higher prices when going used over new.

”I’ll buy what I call slightly used cars,” Bass said. “It’s tough to a lot of people … Glad I’m retired.”

Oteri says the parking lot at Gulf Coast Motorworks would usually be packed full of cars. It’s emptier currently, but he says people are driving cars home anyway, at least at the dealership he manages.

“We’re up from last year, even though times are where they’re at,” Oteri said.

And they continue to have a surging demand for product.

“We need cars,” Oteri said.

Now, might be a good time to get the right price for your used car.

“If you do want to, prices seem to be a little bit stronger now,” Oteri said.

And Oteri hopes business continues to get stronger. Car dealers say their used car inventory is down 20% since this time last year, but a big change is coming.

Hertz, as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, must sell 182-thousand cars by the end of the year.

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