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In Wake of Japan Disaster, U.S. Car Dealers Say ‘No Sale’ This Summer

If your company is thinking about buying or leasing a new car, van or truck and hopes to take advantage of typical summer deals, it may be out of luck. According to a new projection, the triple whammy of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster that struck Japan may have pointed to the end to those deals for this year.

You best bet may be to buy domestic — but even the viability of that option is unclear.

The tragedy in Japan caused supply shortages that have reverberated throughout the complex global supply chain most automakers rely on and has even affected manufacturers in the U.S. who depend on Japan for critical parts.

“Any production disruptions caused by the devastation in Japan have yet to be felt directly, but savvy consumers realize that it makes sense to buy sooner rather than later,” said Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of Edmunds.com , an information source on the automobile industry. “Given the situation in Japan, we expect that product shortages could arise from some models beginning in May. This year, it won’t make sense for car-shoppers to wait until summer to get their best deals.”

For the past 10 years, Edmunds.com data gas shown that July is the best month for incentive discounts on a new car or truck. Last year, the average discount in July was 14.1 percent off list price, the highest percentage of the year, Edmunds.com said.

The aftermath of last month’s tragic events in Japan has left automakers uncertain about resuming business as usual and the Edmunds.com analysts say it is realistic to expect summer inventory shortages that will eliminate the need for heavy discounting during the industry’s typically slow months.

Honda, Nissan and Toyota and Mercedes-Benz already appear to unseasonable drop-offs in inventory , Edmunds.com reported, with Honda suffering the most. All four of that company’s top-selling models — Accord, Civic, CR-V and Insight — showed steep declines in inventory compared with last month.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.