KC’s auto show reflects availability and affordability issues

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Auto Show has returned to Bartle Hall after being put on hiatus last year due to the pandemic.

Organizers say the industry is still struggling to recover from supply shortages.

Anyone who has tried to buy a vehicle this year knows it hasn’t been easy. A shortage of computer chips has limited the supply of new vehicles, forcing many buyers to wait and pay list price or more.

Used car prices remain high, with buyers often paying more for a used car than the same car costs to buy a new car.

At the auto show, there’s evidence of limited inventory for buyers, with the noticeable absence of displays from some manufacturers, including Honda. But when consumers can get a new car, show organizers say the vehicles are better than they’ve ever been.

“Short-term availability will continue as it is now,” said Kansas City Automobile Dealers Association CEO Larry Carl. “Forecasters and economic experts are looking at 2023 and possibly well into 2024. That could be the new normal for another 12-18 months. But it is still very difficult to predict. Recent actions by the administration with the investment in microchips may help that, but it’s going to take a while to come online.

Passage of the Cut Inflation Act has brought attention to electric vehicles, with the government offering a tax credit of $7,500 on the purchase of an electric vehicle, starting in next year for most models.

Many of the newest electric vehicles are on display for buyers, including: Ford F-150 Lightning, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Volkswagen ID-4, Kia EV-6 and a Subaru Solterra prototype.

There’s also an indoor electric vehicle tour where consumers can see what it’s like to drive in an electric car.

Admission to the auto show, through Sunday, is $20 per adult at the box office, or $15 each if purchased online at kcautoshow.com.

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