Rolling Hills Automotive

The lot at Rolling Hills Automotive is a little more bare these days because of a chip shortage and a high demand for new and used cars.

Car dealerships across the nation are feeling the effects of a nationwide microchip shortage that has plummeted inventory levels. And here in St. Joseph, it’s no different.

Kirk Ban, general manager for Rolling Hills Auto Group, said in his 32-year career in the car industry, this is the craziest he has ever seen it. While the overwhelming consensus for the shortage is the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, you have to take a wider look at the trickle-down effects the pandemic has caused as a whole.

“Supplies got used up because virtually everything was shut down for a few months. Then when you’ve got a shortage of workers, then that compounds every month and gets worse,” Ban said.

As if a pandemic and work shortage weren’t bad enough, a microchip factory burning to the ground during March of this year doesn’t help bring about a solution to the problem.

“From what I understand, being told by Toyota, one of these factories that makes these chips burnt down and ruined all the supply they had coming,” Ban said.

With no real end in sight for normal inventory levels to return, dealers around the St. Joseph area are simply asking for some patience when it comes to the car-buying experience, as they understand how inconvenient the current times are.

“We’re in a tough situation too. We want to help you out, but we’re at the mercy of the manufacturer too,” he said. “We want to do our best to find that car that’s going to work for you, but understand we can only do so much.”

Reed Gregory can be reached at

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