Good luck buying a new car

MADISON, Wis. — If you’ve shopped for a new car lately, you already know prices are up, supply is down and we’re all tired of the chip shortage.

Adding fuel to this fire are dealer markups on popular cars. It’s called “market adjustment” or “live market price.”

Empty new car lots are a common sight right now and what few vehicles a dealer may have are generally selling for over the sticker price.

“I believe almost all the dealerships right now have some vehicles or all vehicles that they’re selling over manufactured or suggested retail price,” Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealers Association president Bill Sepic said. “They’re selling fewer cars. They can’t sell them at zero to no margin.”

It’s a supply and demand problem, but News 3 Now Auto Expert Harvey Briggs thinks jacking up prices may hurt car dealers in the long run.

“I don’t like it,” Briggs said. “I don’t think it helps the dealer in the long run. I don’t think it helps the manufacturers in the long run because, you know, they’re clearly taking advantage of consumers at this situation.”

Helping the situation somewhat is the fact that used car prices are also at record highs, so you’re getting more for your trade-in.

“Your used vehicle is worth a lot of money right now. More than it ever would have been,” Sepic said. “It’s an appreciating commodity right now. Cars don’t do that, but they are. So if you have a car even in just average shape or below-average shape, you’re going to get a nice trade-in price on that vehicle.”

Unfortunately, this situation won’t get much better any time soon.

“We’ve seen the ups and downs and it’s cyclical, so there will be a glut of cars again,” Sepic said. “We’re hearing from the manufacturers that this is going to stretch into probably the last quarter of next year.”