Rail Cars Could Lead to More Delays in Automotive Sales

This time, it's not a chip shortage

Rail cars
Rail cars, here pictured in late 2022.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

For car and truck buyers in the United States and elsewhere, the last few years have seen an abundance in delays getting new vehicles to their owners. This included the effects of a chip shortage, which led to a substantial fluctuation in the prices of some used cars. You might have thought that these delays were behind us and that production and delivery days were a thing of the past. Unfortunately, there seems to be yet another delay coming down the track.

Or, in this case, not coming down the track. Citing reports from the Detroit Free Press, Jalopnik points to a shortage in rail cars as something that might have a substantial impact on automotive markets. A recent Jalopnik article cited the staggering figure of 70,000 vehicles for which there are simply not enough rail cars to transport.

The Detroit Free Press cited one industry source who suggested that numerous Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras are in need of transportation and would otherwise be ready to be delivered to dealerships around the country.

Jalopnik’s Lawrence Hodge notes that rail cars designed to transport vehicles already make up a significant portion of the nation’s supply. And, in a conundrum familiar to anyone who has wondered why New York City can’t add more subway cars fast enough, simply buying more rail cars is easier said than done; these types of rail cars take several years to build.

All of which is to say, if you notice more delays in getting new cars to dealers and drivers — there’s a reason for that.

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