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Car supply shortage may impact those who lost cars in the Marshall Fire

The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association said they're working with member dealers and manufacturers to alleviate impacts for those who lost cars in the fire.

LOUISVILLE, Colo. — Boulder County's Department of Public Works estimated that more than 1,300 cars were destroyed in the Marshall Fire – for families who evacuated the fire in one car, that meant leaving another car behind.

"Well, this is a tragedy and they are victims of a personal tragedy and community tragedy," Tim Jackson, the CEO of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, said of the fire. "And we want to be helpful to make it a, you know – it's a tough market right now, but make it less tough for them if we can."

Overall he said, inventory, much like the last several months, is very low among the lots of auto dealers. 

"Two to three months is a typical wait time right now on a newly ordered vehicle, so maybe even two to four months. And so that's that's just the market today and where we have much more demand than we have supply," he said. 

Credit: Taylor Schuss
Tim Jackson, the CEO of the Colorado Auto Dealers Association.

As for rental cars, he explained that availability generally speaking, depends on the make and model, among other things. 

"I think it depends on the brands and depends on the models, because there are some models that some brands that have more vehicles now than others, and we're addressing that," he said. "But we are addressing that and trying to be supportive and accommodative to the victims of the Marshall fires so they can maybe get into a car quicker than they would otherwise get there and less expensive than they would otherwise expect to pay."

To do that he said they're in the early stages of trying to speed up the process to get cars to those who need it. 

"We're looking for ways for manufacturers to maybe pump some additional inventory into this market to address the shortage of cars based on the Marshall fires," he said. "We're also looking at we're working with manufacturers to look at manufacturer codes for Marshall Fire victims, where they might get a discount on a new electric vehicle or a new inventory vehicle coming in."

As for the cars available on the market, Jackson explained that member dealers are working with their automakers supplying those dealers, to see about potential discounts for impacted people. 

"It's just like there's extreme housing shortage too, that's not going to be easily remedied. Maybe more easily remedied than to get the vehicles back into that market, electric vehicles or plug in hybrids to meet the customer demand in Superior and Louisville," Jackson said. 

Credit: FILE
Burned cars sit in a neighborhood after the Marshall Fire.

As for the cars burned in the fire, Jackson explained that they're working with the Clear the Air Foundation to work on a program where they can offer those that lost cars to donate to the foundation, free of charge, to recycle them. 

Jackson described the process of using the material from the cars as metal recycling. 

"They'll go back into park equipment or our gardening equipment, or maybe turf for the lawn, and they won't come back to those individuals per se, but they'll get them out of their way. So they don't have those in the way, while they're reconstructing their homes," Jackson said.

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