Ford and General Motors soundly beat Wall Street’s expectations with their first quarter earnings, but the worldwide shortage of semiconductors has left car dealers struggling to come up with the vehicles they need as consumer demand rebounds to pre-pandemic levels.
That is forcing automakers to rethink key business strategies, and could see them backing away from established practices — including never fully rebuilding dealer inventories. Such changes likely will impact consumers in a number of ways. Among other things, that may mean a longer wait for the vehicle a customer buys, as well as fewer incentives and other discounts.
“The pandemic has just changed the game,” said David Cole, chairman-emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research. Almost every automaker will be changing business practices “to hedge against unexpected situations, whether an earthquake or a pandemic,” Cole said.
The impact will be felt at every level of the automotive business, from