New car dealerships in the Bay are emptying out as the industry feels the aftermath of factory closures due to Covid-19 lockdown, meaning longer wait times for buyers.
Meanwhile, the Bay's used-car market has "gone bananas", with dealers struggling to keep up with demand and having to shop further afield for good-quality stock.
In an August edition of Money, car dealers reported being busier than ever post Covid-19 lockdown as people were spending their overseas holiday savings on new cars instead.
Tony Hammond Motors sales manager Lachlan Hammond said business had been "crazy" since lockdown, which was "unanticipated".
"We are selling a lot more than we have before ... People are definitely keeping the effort to buy local and so are we."
But Hammond said the prices of cars had gone up too and it had been tricky to source new stock with the dealership having to ramp up its connections with out-of-town dealers.
"It hasn't been easy. We're having to look further afield than we did before."
Farmer Autovillage group managing director Mike Farmer said while October was historically quieter due to the school holidays, sale numbers were still strong.
However, he said people would start to see some car dealers becoming empty over the next few months due to the fallout of Covid-19 lockdown.
"This is due to the fact we are now feeling the effects of factory closures due to Covid. There will be some delays with supply."
Farmer said his company ordered "pretty heavily", which meant the car dealership still had most models in stock. But he said due to the demand, stock was likely to diminish quickly.
"What it means is if someone wants a car now they may have to wait. If they are looking to have something delivered by Christmas time, they may need to get in sooner rather than later."
He said people were spending money not just on new cars but also renovating their homes.
"All these industries are up significantly, which is great for the New Zealand economy. It means we are spending in our own backyard."
But he said nothing would last forever and he expected things to return to normal mid-next year.
Tauranga Peugeot sales manager Evan Campbell said the time between ordering and cars arriving was not as consistent as it was a year ago due to changes in the supply of imported cars globally.
He said it meant anyone wanting to buy a new car now would likely have to wait.
"Right now we have about six new cars that we can sell. The next catchment of vehicles we won't see until the end of November. That's just going to be part of the new reality.
"Good-quality used vehicle stock nationally has also tightened up."
Business post lockdown, he said, had been something they had not predicted.
"If anything, we anticipated it would be quite a challenging period and we were quite surprised by the degree of response we got from the public.
"It is true that a lot of people have pent-up purchasing desire."
Campbell said many people, mostly in the retiree stage of life, were funding new cars and home renovations with their disposable income.
"But that pent-up desire, I think to a great extent, has been spent now. A lot of people have satisfied that."
He said they were seeing working couples who were feeling more secure in their employment coming in to buy new cars.
Turners Group NZ Ltd chief executive officer Greg Hedgepeth said used car sales were up year-on-year but less cars coming into the country was impacting stock levels.
"Especially as consumer demand for used cars is strong at the moment. This is why so many dealerships look empty.
"Fortunately Turners has a very diversified source of inventory so we have plenty of cars available ... over 200 right now at our Tauranga branch."
Rotorua Hyundai owner Bruce Lowe said the used-car market had "gone bananas" but as a result dealers throughout the country were struggling to find good-quality stock.
"I'm driving the countryside trying to find cars for the yard. It's hard work.
"And we're all in the same boat, which makes it that much harder."
Lowe said the Rotorua car yard was "pretty well stretched" with new cars but the used-car stock was half the amount of what it used to carry.
He said sales post lockdown had been strong and if the company hadn't been able to retain its staff over the weeks of being unable to trade "we wouldn't have coped with the influx of customers".
"For us, a large portion of the monthly sales were finance, probably more so than usual. But with that said, people were just paying cash. There didn't seem to be much in the way of bank loans."
Rotorua Ford and Mazda dealer principal Michael Meyer said there were not many new vehicles arriving.
"We are all struggling for supply."
Meyer said up until about a week ago stock levels were "extremely low" but they were now recovering.
"Certain models are slow to come through but it is looking full again. Our new vehicle supply is looking good again."
Meyer said while it had not been easy recovering from weeks of not trading, sale numbers post lockdown had been good.
"We have seen strength in sales prices and purchasing, particularly for used vehicles."