Car shop managers concerned over potential impact of UAW strike to customers

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 9:51 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The means of production are on hold for domestic car manufacturers.

This includes Stellantis parts distribution centers. Eau Claire Automotive Group owner Mike Keil said it will impact Chrysler models at the dealership in time.

“I don’t know how long this will go on. I hope for not very long for everybody’s sake, but we’ll have to see. We’re here to take care of customers. And that’s concerns me the most. I can’t help people that need my help. That’s not good,” said Keil.

Other car makes offered at the dealership with possible impacts include Jeep and Ram.

“And the everyday parts that we restock overnight, they’re not coming in either. Mostly right now it’s not terrible, but I can see inconveniencing customers in the future pretty quickly,” said Keil.

While the strike will have direct impacts to domestic cars that also include General Motors, One Automotive Group President Bill Bertrand said there is an advantage to being an import auto dealer. However, he did say that advantage could also be in the rearview mirror if the strike goes on long enough.

“It is going to have an impact on them because we’ve really been trying to recover from supply chain issues and the pent up demand that happened during the pandemic,” said Bertrand. “If UAW isn’t producing domestic cars, it’s just going to put pressure on our imports again, drive the supply chain back down, and then availability is going to be an issue.”

This issue will impact consumers looking for either new or used vehicles.

“If this holds out, that’s just going to drive used car demand up. If you don’t have access to new, it’s just the problem kicks itself over there,” said Bertrand.

Much like Keil, Bertrand will also do his best for customers if the strike begins to impact service.

“It won’t be just calling up your local shop and seeing if they have a part on the shelf. You’re going to go farther. You’re going to have to reach to really find those parts,” said Bertrand.

Other UAW groups on strike, aside from the main one on strike in Michigan that President Joe Biden joined on Tuesday, who are in Wisconsin include the GM parts distribution center in Hudson and the Stellantis parts center in Milwaukee.