Car inventory is bouncing back. You can find a deal if you look at these brands.
Good news for car buyers, in-stock inventory is rebounding, according to Edmunds.com.
Even though inventory is nowhere near where it used to be, there are deals to be had. It is all about knowing which manufacturer to shop and which car categories are recovering the quickest.
"We've seen wild swings in the way that consumers shop," said Ivan Drury, the Director of Insights at Edmunds.com
We took a deep dive into their DTT, or "Days To Turn," data. That's the number of days a vehicle sits in inventory before it is sold. Those numbers are looking up.
"Anytime the vehicle starts sitting on the lot you start to see increased selection," said Drury.
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While some of the numbers nationally are hard to duplicate locally, we did see some telling trends.
"We have Kia, Hyundai, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge Ram, Cadillac, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi and Nissan," said Chase Cooley, from the Clay Cooley family of dealerships.
There are cars for sale right now, lots of them, depending on where you look.
"Nissan is doing a great job. Kia and Hyundai, they are both doing a great job," said Cooley.
We saw rows of new inventory.
The less complex a car, the faster they are being produced.
"If you want a Chevy truck or a Ford truck you could customize it and build it a thousand different ways, so each specification requires a different number of chips," Cooley explained.
Conversely, Nissan has two or three different options on each trim which makes manufacturing faster and has helped the company steer clear of supply chain delays.
"It is not back to what it was, but it is probably 50% better than it was at the low point," Cooley said.
The segment in which you are shopping also matters.
High-end, big domestic SUVs can still be hard to come by.
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"A lot of those are still built to order," Cooley said.
Instead, consider an alternate car category, even at the same manufacturer if you need something sooner, but those who are really in the driver's seat right now are people who are willing to trade in their vehicle.
"Your trade-in value, that is your best bargaining chip right now," said Drury.
Especially if you started a 3-year lease at the start of the pandemic, you've probably got lots of equity.
"Let's say they set the residual at 60% and the car is worth 75%, 80% or 85% it's thousands and thousands of dollars," Cooley said.
Before you turn in the keys and walk away, you've got dibs on those dollars. It may be worth it to buy your lease and keep driving until the inventory you want is back on lots or pull the cash out as a down payment.
"You'll buy the lease out and trade it in and then use that equity on the next vehicle," Cooley said.
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It could be the break you need in a market that hit the skids.
Dealers we spoke with also say the best way to get a good idea of inventory is to call or come in.
Those online searches can be misleading, especially when a vehicle says "in transit" in many cases it can already be sold.