Dealerships for General Motors Co. (GM) brands are "starting to feel the pinch" as trim pieces and other parts for their body shops become harder to find because of the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike.
"When the strike first started, the first ten days or so, there were no problems," said Walt Tutak, general manager of Matthews-Hargreaves Chevrolet in Royal Oak, MI, on Friday, Sept. 27. "Now we're starting to feel the pinch in the body shop. We're starting to have to turn down jobs in the body shop. That started three or four days ago."
UAW members have been striking against GM since Sept. 16, after the contract expired the previous day.
Tutak said he is not worried about facing any vehicle shortages in the near future because he has four month’s worth of inventory at his dealership. But he said he has noticed that sales have started to slow.
"Sales have started to dip a little bit because people who may have been thinking about buying a new car are apprehensive because they don't know how long this is going to last," said Tutak, noting his dealership is dependent on sales to GM workers in Metro Detroit.
"It's getting to be a little of a snowball effect," he said. "If this strike keeps going and they stopping making and delivering cars, we're definitely going to be in a lot of trouble ... Nobody has a crystal ball; it could go on for three more days, or three months or three years. I hope they settle it as soon as possible."
Mark Montante, general manager of Taylor Chevrolet in Taylor, MI, also said the biggest impact his dealership has felt so far is the limited availability of trim pieces and body parts.
"As far as engine parts and things of that nature, we're OK so far," he said. "We're able to get parts overnighted to us, and we have a network of other dealers out there, so we're utilizing all those resources."
Acknowledging the uncertainty of the strike environment, he added quickly: "Call me in two weeks, it might be different."