How the UAW strike affects local mechanics, car dealerships

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 5:36 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against Detroit’s big three: Stellantis, Ford and General Motors is making history, expanding to 38 distribution centers in 20 states. The strike is targeted. Instead of randomly striking facilities across the nation, auto workers are targeting these distribution centers that ship parts to dealerships.

So while manufacturing vehicles like the Ford F-150 isn’t stopping, the strike could interfere with people trying to get their cars repaired.

“I don’t believe it’s gonna affect the overall cost of vehicles,” Joe Hamblock said with Hamblock Ford in Belvidere.

He says there’s a difference between a car’s cost and overall value.

“There’s great value right now in new and used cars. The manufacturer I’m sure will keep track of where the value is for new cars and market them accordingly,” he said.

Hamblock owned his business through the pandemic, so rapidly changing prices is not a new concept. However, he thinks his business won’t be impacted as much as car mechanics.

“When COVID first came in there were some shortages on parts, there were supply chain issues,” Craig Degutis says, owner of Kar Kraft Mechanical Repair in Rockford.

He took the helm more than a decade ago. He’s worried Deja Vu could be kicking in.

“We may have to outsource or look for some different parts, maybe used or aftermarket,” he said.

Degutis says mechanics around the stateline are still seeing residual effects from the pandemic, with one car of his still waiting for a replacement seatbelt buckle months later. If all mechanics start ordering the same parts to stock up due to the strike, the backup could become even longer.

“When there’s a shortage we’re all looking for those parts,” Degutis said.

But he still has faith that the ship will run smoothly because they have been in this situation before.

“We’re hoping things will smooth out, we can slide right through the repairs quickly for customers, and they will be without their cars for the least amount of time,” he told 23 News.

As for those at the sales desk, the big three used to make up 90% of the domestic auto market. That number is now 39%, which means you won’t see as much industry-wide disruption on new car prices.