Pandemic-Influenced Car Shopping: Just Use the Manufacturer API

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The pandemic has caused huge disruptions in the supply chain for a wide variety of industries. One of the major areas feeling the global issues is the car industry. Fortunately, I found a way to exploit a manufacturer API to minimize my frustration. First, some background: Many outlets have widely reported that manufacturers are putting 99 percent of a vehicle together, parking it in a lot somewhere and assuming the missing parts, like computer chips, will be available soon and they’ll be able to make the engines run so the vehicles can be sold. On a recent road trip, I went past the F150 factory and saw the massive parking lot at Kentucky Speedway, filled with factory-new trucks that will not start and are unsellable. My 2015 Tacoma is getting to the point where I want to make a decision to either finish setting it up for camping, or trade it in and get a newer one to fix up for camping. And thus, I find myself trying to find a new Tacoma, in the middle of the pandemic-induced supply disruption. The problems quickly became irritating as I began my search: Dealership websites might have had accurate inventory three years ago but, now they aren’t worth looking at now; Cars that are on the website were sold two days ago and the cars that arrived at the dealership yesterday aren’t on the website yet. This delay means that there is no way to see what the dealer has. Snooping around on various dealership websites I found a link, buried in the page, that lets you pull up…

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