How the UAW Strike and Sympathetic Strikes Will Impact the Aftermarket Auto Repair Industry

Hey everyone, Coach Chris Cotton here from AutoFix-Auto Shop Coaching. There’s a lot happening right now in the automotive world, and I’ve got some thoughts to share about how it’s all going to impact those of us in the aftermarket auto repair industry.

UAW Strike and Its Effects

First up, let’s talk about the UAW (United Auto Workers) strike. This is a big deal, folks. Strikes can bring production to a standstill, and that means new vehicles aren’t rolling off the line. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t just affect the manufacturers or those waiting for a new car. This trickles down to us in the aftermarket sector as well.

Parts Supply

A UAW strike can have a domino effect, disrupting the supply of OEM parts. If you rely heavily on original parts for repairs, brace yourselves, because there might be delays. And if there are sympathetic strikes from other workers in related fields, you can expect even greater supply chain issues. After all, if factory workers are striking, it’s entirely possible that transporters or even workers at parts manufacturing plants could join in, amplifying the issue. We are seeing this take place right now! As I write this the parts distributors union is going to go on strike as well. 

New Vehicle Numbers and Our Industry

Now, let’s dive into how new vehicle numbers will affect our industry. With fewer new vehicles being produced, what we’re going to see is people holding onto their older cars for a longer period. You know what that means? More business for us in the aftermarket auto repair world! Older vehicles require more frequent and more significant repairs. That’s a pretty big silver lining, if you ask me.

High Costs of New Car Financing

On top of all this, there’s the elephant in the room—the high costs of new car financing. Interest rates aren’t what they used to be, and people are starting to feel the pinch. Add in the inflated prices due to low supply, and it becomes a tough proposition for many to buy a new car. Again, this means more people keeping their existing vehicles and, subsequently, more opportunities for us to keep those cars running smoothly.

The Game Plan Moving Forward

So, what’s the game plan? Here’s my take:

  • Diversify Parts Suppliers: Look into secondary or tertiary suppliers, including aftermarket options. The last thing you want is to be held hostage by a supply chain that’s ground to a halt.
  • Promotions: People are going to hang on to their cars; why not run some special offers to get those older models into your shop? Start mining your databases and get back in touch with and talk about on social media etc…how to take care of an older vehicle. Talk about what types of preventative maintenance and how preventative maintenance will pay off for them now and in the future. 
  • Consult Your Team: Now’s a great time for a staff meeting to discuss these issues. Knowledge is power, and the more informed your team is, the better prepared they’ll be.
  • Engage With Your Customers: Let them know that you’re still the go-to for their older cars, and maybe even offer a discount for referrals. Word-of-mouth is gold in our business.

In closing, yeah, strikes and supply chain issues are a headache, but they also present opportunities for those willing to adapt and innovate. We’re in a robust industry, folks, and there’s a lot of potential for those who are ready to seize it.

Stay tuned for more insights and, as always, keep those wrenches turning!

Coach Chris Cotton, AutoFix-Auto Shop Coaching

P.S. If you’ve got questions or need some specific advice, feel free to reach out. We’re all in this together! #staydriven


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