Monday, 23 December 2019 15:03

GM Customers Rage as Automaker Struggles With Strike-Related Parts Delay

Written by Jamie L. LaReau, Detroit Free Press
The damage to Ben Baby's Buick Enclave after rear-ending a vehicle on a Dallas freeway Oct. 4, 2019. The damage to Ben Baby's Buick Enclave after rear-ending a vehicle on a Dallas freeway Oct. 4, 2019. Ben Baby


Buick owner Ben Baby is on his third and last Buick.

Baby, 41, has been waiting since Oct. 4. for General Motors (GM) to supply a Texas body shop with the parts needed to repair his 2018 Buick Enclave.


The delay, caused by the UAW's 40-day strike that started Sept. 16, has made Baby increasingly frustrated.


More than 20 parts are backordered, he said, and neither GM nor the body shop manager can estimate when Baby will be back in his car, he said.


"I’m done," said Baby, who lives in McKinney, Texas, about 30 miles north of Dallas. "All of this happened because of the GM strike. GM should have taken care of these things and been prepared, offered rental cars or something … it is their responsibility.”


A GM spokesman said preparing for a parts shortage is difficult, given that the automaker did not expect a strike. GM is sorry, the spokesman said, for the inconvenience that strike-related parts delays have caused some customers.


"We are doing our best to recover as quickly as possible," spokesman Jim Cain said in an email to the Free Press.


GM is running its parts plants in "emergency status" with maximum overtime, among other things, to return the parts operations to normal, said Cain. But it's a massive, complicated task to get caught up and fulfill back orders for specific parts.


Exhaustive Waiting


On Oct. 4, Baby was driving on the Sam Rayburn Tollway in Dallas when a driver three cars ahead of him suddenly stopped, triggering a four-car pileup. Baby was the last car in the chain reaction. 


He was uninjured, but his Enclave had extensive damage to the front. His insurance company said it was repairable and refused to total the car, he said. The body shop manager told him it would be a long wait on repair parts because some 48,000 UAW workers at all of GM's U.S. plants had been on strike since Sept. 16.


For more than two months now, Baby and his wife have shared one vehicle. She drove it to her job, he worked from home.

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