The United Auto Workers strike is now in its second week, with car manufacturers and union representatives having little to show despite several months of negotiations. As dealers prepare for the final quarter of 2023, many wonder if the ongoing stalemate will cut short the year’s relative success.
On this episode of Driving Solutions, hosts Jim Fitzpatrick and Shyann Malone are joined by Tom Gage, chief strategy officer at Lotlinx. For years, Gage has helped dealers develop effective marketing strategies through data and a deep understanding of the American car market. Now, he joins the show to discuss how the United Auto Workers strike could impact sales and inventory and what retailers can do to prepare for the coming weeks.
The United Auto Workers strike has intentionally targeted facilities that manufacture high-demand vehicles, which could impact day supply for models with already constrained inventories.
Although foreign automakers are not affected by the UAW strike, supplies of imported vehicles are much lower in the U.S. than those built domestically, meaning consumers may be unable to switch brands if their preferred model is out of stock.
Dealerships located in rural markets are more susceptible to supply shortages than those in urban, high-volume regions.
The United Auto Workers strike is almost certain to drive up both new and used vehicle affordability, but the severity of this effect and the models impacted will depend on how consumers react.
Dealers should prepare their teams for inventory constraints by identifying alternatives for models impacted by the UAW strike and making sure salespeople can direct customers to the right product.
"You take these rural markets where the income levels and the breadth of consumers you can tap into is not as far, then you might expect that some of these dealerships may struggle a little over the next bit." — Tom Gage