(WKBN) – Car sales have been down between new and used from this September compared to September 2020. It’s down close to 600 total sales.

One Ohio used car salesman and president of the Great Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association spoke about the issue with WKBN Thursday.

Last September, over 3,000 new cars were sold between Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties. This September, sales are down close to 1,000.

“We have a shortage of new vehicles. We have this semi conductor chip issue that’s making it very difficult to produce vehicles,” said Louis Vitantonio, Jr., president of the Great Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association

He says there can be thousands of those chips in a vehicle and what happened was manufacturers held up on ordering the chips when the pandemic hit.

“If you have one part that’s missing from a vehicle, it’s pretty hard to continue to run the line, so you have a lot of shutdowns with manufacturers,” Vitantonio said. “Chip manufacturers either sold them to someone else — semi conductor chips are used in everything we have — or again getting the supply that they need to get into the vehicles is not available and thus some vehicles are being produced without certain products.”

What Vitantonio means is sometimes you’ll only get one set of keys instead of two, or don’t have the start/stop option when you stop at a red light.

While new car dealerships have seen a decrease in sales from last September to this September, used car dealerships have seen an increase, which explains why sales in our area for used cars are up over 300 in sold cars this September compared to 2020.

“We get 80% of our inventory from private owners. Pretty much off the street is how we’ve been doing it the last couple years, and honestly, since we’ve been in business, we buy a lot of vehicles off private party. You get a better car, you really do,” said Chris Haus, owner and operator of Haus Auto Group.

Haus says they haven’t seen a demand for a specific brand vehicle, but the majority of people are looking for a truck or SUV.

“Even pre-pandemic, trucks have been a priority for a lot of people. They’re very functional and large SUVs, of course, with people that have families, large families,” he said.

It’s hard to predict when it will go back to pre-pandemic times, but the takeaway is to keep looking.

“We need a little patience, but if somebody’s certainly looking for something, I’m sure the dealers will find it for them,” Vitantonio said.