NEWS

Inventory Pinch: 25 Models Still Out There

hyundai-sonata-2021-oem.jpg 2021 Hyundai Sonata | Manufacturer image

As Cars.com has reported since February, a global microchip shortage and other obstacles have resulted in broad shortages of new cars and trucks, which has in turn diminished the supply of used vehicles and driven prices skyward across the board. In our coverage last April, we ceased listing models whose production had been limited by the chip shortage because it’s not a reliable representation of their availability at the retail level.

A better indication of what shoppers are likely to find at dealerships is how long a particular model remains on the lot at the dealer that sells it, in days. Cars.com data reflects that the current model year, 2021, averaged a 44-day marketwide supply in May, compared with 64 days for the 2019 model year in May 2019 (going back two years to eliminate COVID-19 pandemic effects) in a continuing downward trend.

Related: Car Shoppers Face Shorter Supply, Rising Price

Below we list 25 vehicles we believe to have above-average availability. Inventories vary by region and the list doesn’t guarantee you’ll find a model easily, but your odds are better than for many other choices. To arrive at our list, we started with more popular models whose days on the lot are above average, as reflected in the table below, and then made sure current listings on Cars.com are at least as numerous as last month’s sales so we don’t send you chasing ghosts.

In case you think their availability means the listed vehicles are inherently undesirable, that’s not necessarily the case. Manufacturer prioritization, shoppers’ unfamiliarity with particular models’ current strengths or even simple luck can make a particular model seem to linger. As an example, we’ve marked five models we recommend with an asterisk below.

More Available Models Based on Average Days on Dealer Lots

  • 2020 Ford EcoSport (158)
  • 2021 Jeep Compass (129)
  • 2021 Jeep Renegade (102)
  • 2021 Hyundai Sonata (95)*
  • 2021 Buick Encore (92)
  • 2021 Acura TLX (88)
  • 2021 Buick Encore GX (85)
  • 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (81)
  • 2021 Ram 1500 Classic (79)
  • 2021 Infiniti QX50 (79)
  • 2021 Ford EcoSport (77)
  • 2021 Nissan Altima (71)
  • 2021 Nissan Titan (71)*
  • 2021 Cadillac XT5 (68)
  • 2021 Acura ILX (66)
  • 2021 Lincoln Corsair (62)
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator (60)
  • 2021 Mazda6 (58)
  • 2021 Acura RDX (56)
  • 2021 Volvo XC60 (54)*
  • 2021 Honda Pilot (52)
  • 2021 Nissan Rogue (52)
  • 2021 Buick Enclave (51)
  • 2021 Nissan Sentra (51)*
  • 2021 Ford Expedition (50)*

*Cars.com recommended

There’s no question that these 25 vehicles aren’t all winners, literally. The Ford EcoSport, for example — which tops the list as the only 2020 model-year entry and reappears as a 2021, 10 spots down — brought up the rear in our Subcompact SUV Challenge in 2018, and the competition has only improved since then. On the flip side is one of our recommended models, the 2021 Volvo XC60, which won our Luxury Compact SUV Challenge and remains a benchmark.

We also highlight the 2021 Nissan Sentra and 2021 Hyundai Sonata, two recently redesigned and perhaps underappreciated sedans. And while we gave the redesigned 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe a lot of credit for catching up with its arch rival, the 2021 Ford Expedition, we still prefer the latter for its roomier third row, higher gas mileage and better ride quality.

Pickup trucks have remained hot during the shortage and despite high gas prices, but you can still find a few models in above-average supply. Our pick is the 2021 Nissan Titan full-size half-ton pickup. Note that the word “Classic” in the 2021 Ram 1500 Classic means it’s the previous generation of the truck, which is still being produced. It’s not bad, but it comes in just two trim levels, Tradesman and SLT, and isn’t as up to date as the non-classic Ram 1500 or the Titan.

If you go shopping and find 2020 model-year versions of these or other models sold as new, such as the EcoSport example, they might represent an opportunity for savings. The primary reasons not to buy an older model are that it might not have the latest features (which you can confirm or disprove easily on a vehicle’s Cars.com research page) and that it appears a year older for resale purposes, which automatically diminishes its value and should thus lower its initial sale price. As it regards days on the lot, longer times might also reflect fewer choices in color or how the available vehicles are equipped, so you might have to be less picky. But the opposite might also be true, where longer times reflect a glut of old inventory, with plenty of choices, relative to demand. Each situation will differ.

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