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When will dealerships exhaust car inventory amidst US autoworkers strike?

The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike targeting Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis is causing concern for dealerships in the US. Dealers, such as Jay Darling, anticipate a decrease in inventory levels of affected vehicles over the next four to six weeks. This simultaneous strike is unprecedented, and dealerships that carry all three brands are particularly affected. While some carmakers may have stocked up on vehicles ahead of the strike in the past, this time data experts have seen little sign of such preparations. The strike’s impact on sales is difficult to forecast, but it presents risks for both carmakers and the UAW.

Dealerships across the US are worried about the dwindling inventories of Jeeps, Ford Broncos, and Chevy Colorados due to the UAW strike against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. Jay Darling, who owns multiple dealerships in Maine, expects inventory levels of affected vehicles to shrink within the next month and a half. This is the first time that the UAW has simultaneously targeted all three carmakers dominating Detroit, seeking higher pay for workers. The strike’s impact on dealerships that carry all three brands is particularly catastrophic. As customers may turn to neighboring dealerships or rival brands, carmakers that can produce vehicles during the strike may emerge as winners.

The strike’s impact on the inventory of vehicles is crucial for customer retention, as most US motorists prefer to drive their purchased vehicle away on the day of buying. American showrooms often maintain higher vehicle stocks compared to non-US markets. Matthew Demmer, owner of Jack Demmer Automotive Group, mentioned that the supply of Ford Bronco and Ranger vehicles significantly dwindled. Dealerships may struggle to connect clients with available inventory, halting the wait for factory orders. Carmakers’ choice to enter the strike with reduced inventory compared to previous strikes is a gamble that intends to influence pricing. The UAW’s strategy to selectively target specific plants with limited notice prevents prompt depletion of the union’s strike fund while maximally disrupting carmakers’ operations.

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