As supply dwindles and production continues to sputter, new-car shoppers are already seeing higher prices for some of the more fuel-efficient Japanese vehicles.
The cost of the imports is going up, because earthquake-related production shutdowns in Japan are reducing supply of the autos that people are increasingly snatching off dealer lots.
That’s a simple supply-and-demand equation, with cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Fit becoming more popular as gas prices get closer to $4 per gallon. It just so happens those are also two of the cars hard-hit by production slowdowns, and dealers are raising their prices, in some cases, to over MSRP.
Will a similar price increase trickle down to used cars? It’s entirely possible.
A story at Autoweek yesterday pointed out some interesting facts:
- John Mendel, American Honda’s executive vice president, let Honda and Acura dealers know the situation in Japan will disrupt dealer orders into May.
- The GM factory that produces the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon closed because it was out of a Japanese-supplied part.
- Toyota and Subaru have both slowed production in North America to ration the use of parts.
So price increases are possible from all automakers, not just those based in Japan. Perhaps most telling for the used market is a quote to Autoweek from the executive VP at Sonic Automotive, the country’s 3rd largest dealer group, who said that Sonic
is prepared to supplement our new-vehicle inventory with quality nearly new used vehicles should the manufacturing disruptions interrupt new vehicle inventory supplies longer than currently anticipated.
I have a feeling that’ll be a common practice until automakers are back running at full steam. If buying a used car is on your to-do list in the coming weeks, you’d be wise to check DealFinder first to make sure you get the best deal possible. If you’ve been toying with the idea of selling your imported-from-Japan vehicle, this might be a good time to get top dollar for it. Fell free to use our CarGurus Instant Market Value tool anytime you want.
Would you pay more than MSRP for a Prius?