Car Shopping During the Computer Chip Shortage

You are able to see it as you drive down any main highway or interstate… car lots nearly empty. New and used cars are hard to come by these days. The prices of either are higher than we’ve ever seen. The chip shortage has made shopping for a new or used car difficult, stressful and honestly makes me want to cry and pull my hair out.

Another “perk” of the wonderful pandemic we live in is the shortage of new vehicles to purchase. If you haven’t heard or seen on the lots there aren’t many vehicles anywhere, literally. Trust me, I’ve looked from Houston to Florida.

I have been searching for a vehicle for the past three months with absolutely no luck. There are few factors that have made this search longer than I had anticipated. If you haven’t had the pleasure of looking for your new whip let me inform you that there is a computer chip shortage. What does this mean? Well, vehicles these days can use anywhere from 100 – 1,500 computer chips. Let’s add in the shut down of the world, which will bring a back up of any factory. Automakers cut their computer chip orders while shut down and the computer chip companies began allocating those unused chips for vehicles to computer, game consoles and electronic companies. When the auto factories began to open the computer chip companies didn’t have enough in production to allocate for automobile chips. Now… we are in this situation.

With the lack of auto inventory we are seeing prices of vehicles skyrocket. I’ve seen used cars that are the same price as new cars, new car prices well over MSRP and people putting down deposits on new vehicles before even setting eyes on them. It’s a mess for the consumer and supplier.

After having shopped for a little while during this I have come up with some tips for anyone in the same boat.

Know What You Want

Before stepping foot on a lot do your research. I’m a nerd and probably spent 30+ hours researching all the new types of vehicles out there, which ones are good to buy used and of course, which ones have the best safety ratings.

I strongly suggest you follow The Car Mom! A friend told me about her and the info she gives is top-notch. Kelly is a mom of two small children, a Child Safety Passenger Technician and has been around the automotive field her entire life. Her YouTube page is amazing. She gives tours of vehicles, inside and out, and always shows how car seats would fit, if they have enough tethers, how a stroller would fit in the trunk and the comfort of those third rows for kids and adults. Her pages (IG, Facebook, YouTube) have been a godsend. I was able to check out the vehicles in prior to seeing what was on the lots.

Know Your Budget

As I mentioned above, the prices on vehicles are extremely inflated at this time. It’s all supply and demand which is completely understandable. But, if you’re like me and like to budget everything in life this is a must before going to the dealerships. Know what you want to pay each month, but give yourself some breathing room as it will definitely be needed.

Know Your Salesperson

If you are lucky enough to know people in the car sales business contact them. It is a lot easier to deal with someone you have a relationship with. You won’t feel as pressured and can usually be more upfront.

These tips have been a huge help in my search. I haven’t found what I want just yet for the price I’m willing to pay, but I’m sure it will happen when the time is right. If you have any other tips, tricks, or have a lead on an amazing deal for the family SUV that won’t have me selling my first child to purchase, please pass that info along!

Happy hunting!

Patrice LaBauve
Patrice is a Baton Rouge native that moved to the area to attend UL Lafayette in 2002 and never looked back. Since graduating with a degree in Public Relations she has worked in the insurance business on both personal and commercial sides. Her love of her Cajun heritage made it an easy decision to marry her New Iberia born and raised husband, Matt. They now resides in Youngsville and have two daughters Jolie (9) and Amelie (5) and her bonus son, Eli (14). On most weekdays you will find her running the roads to the dance studio, soccer field or her favorite place, 220 Fitness. The weekends are her favorite family time and are usually spent cooking with her family, watching her daughter show off her goalie skills, checking out any festival around the area, and catching all Saints and Cajuns game. She and her husband are craft beer drinkers, but she also won’t turn down a good Pinot Noir or fancy cocktail. She loves a good philanthropic event, to-do lists, singing in front of people whenever she gets the chance, her gym family and live music. Lafayette has been the perfect place to raise her children and immerse them in the culture she loves.


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