ST. LOUIS – From new cars to classic cars and race cars, there is something for everyone at the St. Louis Auto Show.
“I think all the industry data that we see now is much more promising than it has been for the last couple years,” said Doug Smith, executive vice president of the St. Louis Auto Dealers Association.
After the chip shortage that stopped the auto industry in its tracks, Smith said he’s glad to see some good signs.
“It was devastating. Dealers went from having several hundred units on their lot to several dozen,” he said. “Really affected their ability to sell. Really affected their ability to take care of their customers.”
These days, Smith said, more vehicles are hitting dealer lots than they have in the last year and a half. As for how electric vehicles will fare on the market?
“Charging infrastructure is the key,” Smith said.
He said while Missouri is making strides in its EV charging infrastructure, he believes greater saturation is needed for consumers to buy in on buying electric.
Some consumers agreed.
“Of course, but not for a long trip,” said Lynn Flowers.
When asked if the charging infrastructure is something Flowers is interested in, she said, “Absolutely. You don’t want to be stranded someplace.”
So what’s on the radar for the auto industry in 2023?
“I think there is pent-up demand. There’s a lot of extraneous things out there, such as interest rates and fear of recession,” Smith said. “Do I buy that big ticket item, which a car is, or do I wait and see what the economy is going to do and what interest rates do before I pull the trigger?”
While big questions remain, a short walk around the auto show floor proves one thing is certain.
“The product has never been cooler. That is definitely on the uptick,” Smith said.