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Global chip shortage leaves local dealerships with empty lots

Cars need chips for things like entertainment systems, power steering and brakes. With production on pause, however, there are fewer new cars available.

SAN ANTONIO — If you’re looking to buy a car, you may find yourself having a bit of trouble—that's due to a global semiconductor chip shortage.

"We’re seeing a whole lot of asphalt these days," said Bobby Cavender, president of the Cavender Auto Group. 

A national chip shortage is to blame, and is one of the many consequences of the pandemic. Fewer people needed cars, and more were staying home buying laptops. That’s not all: A trade war, snowstorms and even a fire caused those much-needed chips to disappear.

“One of the major manufacturing plants over in Asia burned down and so that created a big shortage as well," Cavender said. 

Cars need chips for things like entertainment systems, power steering and brakes. With production on pause, however, there are fewer new cars available.

Cavender Grande Ford usually has hundreds of cars on their lot, but for the time being it's down to just a few dozen.

“The one good thing about that is we can go ahead and stripe our lots," Cavender said. 

It’s driving up the cost of cars, and creating a bigger demand in used vehicles as well.

“Without getting trades on new cars, our inventory on used cars is affected,” Cavender said.

Cavender said it shouldn’t have a long-term effect on business, but he expects it may get worse into the summer. So if you’re looking for a new set of wheels, it may take some time, but persistence is key.

“You will get the vehicle you want," Cavender said. "But it might just take a little longer."