DES MOINES — Iowans likely won’t see an immediate impact from the United Auto Workers strike that started on Friday, but if it lasts a while, there could very well be shortages of new vehicles for sale on car lots across the state.
Iowa Automobile Dealers Association president Bruce Anderson says the 12,700 UAW workers are striking the “big three” automakers in Detroit — Ford, GM and Chrysler. “The dealers of all three of those brands have some days supply on hand, it varies,” Anderson says. “General Motors dealers tend to have right now 45 to 60 days supply of vehicles. Ford dealers are a little higher than that, and Chrysler, even higher, up to closer to 60-90 days.”
For the time being, Anderson says Iowans should continue to have a good selection of new vehicles from which to choose. “Across the country, there’s about two-million new cars on the lots, so there’s a good supply already there,” Anderson says. “It’s not like a couple of years ago during the peak of the pandemic when the lots were just empty. So we’ve got a little breathing room. We still have inventory to show, sell, test drive, plenty of tires out there to kick.”
However, he says Iowans who are looking for vehicles with very specific features or colors may run into a problem soon. “A lot of vehicles are built to order or dealers can offer a production slot,” Anderson says. “Some of the more popular brands, when I say there’s a 45-day supply, that may not include the very vehicle you want. So you need to either shop and see what’s there, or get in the queue for the ordered one.”
The previous four-year contract has expired. UAW leaders are demanding higher wages, shorter work weeks, a return to original pensions, and more job security.