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Empty Lot

by on June 20, 2021

As a driver of a Toyota vehicle for the last several years I figured that when my lease was up I’d go through the formalities of looking at other cars just to go back to Toyota and lease a different vehicle.

It was strange and eerie – fitting for the times we’re in – that there were hundreds of cars at the Toyota dealership, and most of them weren’t Toyotas and none of them were new. As far as I could tell, no one was looking for a car – maybe they already knew what they’d find, and I didn’t get the memo.

I explained to the salesman that I wanted to look at a new Corolla to lease,

or a compact SUV (also known as a crossover). I got the message that there were no new cars to look at, but I could look at a used one. Not only did it feel used, but it felt cheap. My only option at Toyota was to leave my name on a list – behind presumably dozens of other people on a list – to get a new car. It could be ready in a month (wait, make that a week!), or whenever the company gets a massive shipment – and they don’t know when that will be.

The industry is full of antiquated car features I didn’t know existed. Hyundai, which is probably the only car company that will have an inventory this summer – a verbose salesman told me they bought all the electronic components that were in short supply because of the pandemic – offers a car with manual roll-up windows. Every base-model car of every different car company appears to have basic seat that are still adjusted manually, with no electric option.

At Honda, the saleswomen tried to lease me a car that wasn’t for lease. I actually did end with a very nice Honda (with a lease). Even there, where there were options, Honda thinks that unless they can get a huge shipment in the next few weeks, they’ll have no new cars on the lot.

If you see some Hondas or Hyundais on the road that look new, it might be that no other companies can get new cars made and delivered during the pandemic. The lot isn’t really empty, but it’s devoid of anything new.

From → Life, On the Dole

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