Car prices remain high as Chinese-made semiconductor shortage keeps inventories low

WATCH NOW: Car prices remain high as Chinese-made semiconductor shortage keeps inventories low

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Car prices could remain high for another two years as dealerships continue to struggle to maintain their inventory of used and new cars due to a shortage of Chinese-made semiconductor chips, dealers told Fox News.

"We have to charge more money for the cars because we're paying more money for the cars," John Bodmann, a product specialist with McGrath Volvo Cars of Fort Myers, told Fox News. "The prices of used cars have escalated since the availability of new cars is limited."

The price of used cars and trucks rose 31.4% over the past year, while new vehicles climbed 11.1%, the latest Consumer Price Index showed. The car dealers told Fox News they estimated that prices would continue to be high for the next one to two years.

"Customers come and see less now and have to pay a bit more," Diamond Cut Autos sales consultant Alexis Alvarez told Fox News. "For example, now you get a car that's 2010, and it might just cost you like four or five grand more."

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"Everything is more expensive," Daylin Auto Sales employee Diana Torres told Fox News. "Before, you'd be able to find a 2007 Toyota Camry, for example, only $3,000. Now they're all running like $6,000."

Prices for new vehicles surged 11.1% over the past year, the latest Consumer Price Index showed. (Fox News Digital)

A shortage of Chinese-made semiconductor chips made in China are partially to blame for the surge in car prices, dealers told Fox News.

"We get chips made in China for new cars, and they haven't been getting made. Therefore, all the new cars aren't coming, bringing up the price on the old cars," Alvarez told Fox News.

Used cars and truck prices rose 31.4% over the past year.

Used cars and truck prices rose 31.4% over the past year. (Fox News Digital)

Bodmann similarly said: "The problem behind it is unavailability of new cars because of the chips. We normally would have 125 new vehicles on a lot. We have about 50, which is more than most car dealers have at this particular time."

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Alvarez pointed to how bare car lots look.

"If you go around to new car lots, you'll see that there's a lot less cars on their lots," he said. "I have a buddy at Lexus, there's like no cars there anymore."

Cars for sale lined up outside Keywood Motors in Fort Myers, Florida.

Cars for sale lined up outside Keywood Motors in Fort Myers, Florida. (Fox News Digital)

Bodmann's message to consumers looking to buy a car: "Be patient."

Lisa Bennatan Fox News