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Chip shortage is leaving car lots empty

West Texas dealerships are being affected by vehicle inventory shortages and some customers believe it could get worse.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — With the recent inventory shortage of new and used vehicles, West Texas dealerships are being affected.

Walt’s Auto Sales salesman, Gil Harris, said this is the first time in decades he has witnessed a shortage in vehicles at the dealership. 

“I’ve been here for 25 years and this is the first time that we experience a shortage of vehicles. I mean there have always been vehicles available but there are a lot less available now and finding the inventory is the main problem we’re having,” Harris said. 

He said the chip shortage has been a huge factor in the vehicle shortage at dealerships. Chips are needed for vehicles, computers, smartphones and many other appliances. 

“It's mainly because of the chips in the new cars. So there's not a lot of new cars, so there’s not a lot of new ones getting traded in,” Harris said. 

Harris said since there have been inventory issues, vehicle prices have increased.

One customer said she is planning to purchase a vehicle now, before it gets worse. 

“I’ve learned that it could be a year until the situation’s better so I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and buy my cars now. It could be worse,” Walt’s customer, Rucelle Russell, said. 

Russell said she is in the market for three vehicles - for herself and two daughters. Russell said she was recently involved in a wreck and it's been difficult time trying to find a van in stock. 

“I’ve been waiting months for him to get vans to have some vans to choose from or find one and he told me just the other day that it’s going to be difficult to find what I'm looking for,” Russell said. 

Although it is unclear on when vehicle production will go back to normal, Walt's Auto Sales has been in full operation, business as usual, despite the vehicle shortage.