GM strike squeezes new vehicle inventory, replacement parts stock

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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (10/8/2019) - The General Motors strike has halted vehicle production across the United States, squeezing new vehicle inventory for dealerships and making some replacement parts nearly impossible to find.

United Auto Workers members on strike from General Motors picket outside the Flint Engine Operations plant.

The selection of new vehicles at Simms Chevrolet in Clio is OK, according to President Jim Simms. He’s much more concerned about the tightening supply of replacement parts.

"At this particular moment, we're still pretty good in inventory," he said. "Obviously with what's going on with the UAW and General Motors, sales have slowed down, but so has the delivery of parts and inventory. Right now we're OK though."

Because sales are slightly down, Simms said several of his salesmen who work on commission have had to make some adjustments at home as far as family budgets and spending.

For customers seeking specific models Simms may not have in inventory, he has good working relationships with other dealers and should be able to accommodate customers' needs.

However, finding parts and making vehicle repairs is much more problematic.

"Main parts like oil filters and things of that nature, those we have in stock," Simms said. "But if you come in with a special need or special repair and something the dealership normally doesn't stock, then that's going to be harder to get."

More than dealerships that are feeling the pinch for replacement parts.

McFall's Collision in Flint was experiencing delays getting parts two weeks ago and that continues to happen.

"So the parts issues are still out there," manager Shane Winslow said. "They're still not getting parts to dealerships because they're not shipping anything, obviously. With that said, the cars are still sitting. There are a few we're still not getting parts for."

He said business has taken a bit of a hit, since roughly 70 percent of his customers have GM vehicles. Some customers have decided to delay work on their vehicles until it can be fixed.

McFall's prides itself on timely repairs and not being able to do that right now for some of them is frustrating to Winslow.

Customers do have another option thought when it comes to repairs.

"You still have aftermarket providers," Winslow said. "Some of them you have to make sure it's the correct parts and good quality parts you're getting versus something that's not the correct fit. You want to make sure it's fitting properly, so OEM obviously is the best fit and finish and your fit and finish you want to make sure is proper for the customer."

Anyone who needs repairs on a GM vehicle should call their body or repair shop ahead of time to make sure parts are in stock.