Potential UAW strike could impact consumers

A potential 146,000 members are expected to walk out if the UAW strike becomes a reality at the end of this week.
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 7:14 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A UAW strike could have a major impact if you’re looking to buy a car, or even afford one.

A potential 146,000 members are expected to walk out if the UAW strike becomes a reality at the end of this week, which would halt production, decrease inventories, and drive prices up.

“If there’s a strike this week, then the inventory we have sitting on the ground is what we’ve got,” Joe Mehling, executive manager at Dave White Chevrolet said.

With the clock ticking on an agreement between automakers and the United Auto Workers union, local dealerships are preparing for what could be a long-time lack of inventory.

“We’re gonna get as many used cars in the lot as we can because we’ll really have to work with what we have available to us, which will be used cars,” Mehling said. “We’ll sell down the inventory that we have here. We’ve had a few more cars than we’ve had recently but still a lot less than what we’ve had prior to 2019, so we’ll see what happens.”

The last time the UAW went on strike was in November 2019. The strike lasted 40 days. Mehling said it took almost two months to get inventory back on the lot.

“We didn’t start getting inventory again until the first week of January. And it was the same timeframe,” Mehling said. “So that kind of tells you what the lee time is on how long new car inventory will be short here, and there’s a pent-up demand for cars right now, so the consumer will have less to deal with, and we’re already short-handed when it comes to inventory right now.”

So, if you’re looking into buying a new car, now might be the best time to purchase.

“A sense of urgency,” Mehling said. “If you’re planning on making a decision here in the next 60 or 90 days, it’s best that you do it now. If they do go out on strike, that means they don’t produce vehicles, and if there’s a car sitting in plants, people don’t cross picket lines so we won’t get the cars that are even produced. So what we have is what we got, so people will have to come out to pick and choose.”

“I just pray that the two sides get together as quickly as possible and make it reasonable for both sides so they can shake hands and we can keep working,” Mehling said.

Mehling told 13 Action News that for every week UAW members don’t work, it takes them three weeks to get that one week of production back. So depending on how long this strike lasts, if it happens, dealers may be waiting for new inventory for a while.

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