Autos

GM Strike after a week: Sales hold up while parts shortages loom

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Key Points
  • LMC Automotive, analyzing data compiled by J.D Power, said GM sold approximately 43,000 vehicles during the first week of the UAW strike.
  • That's slightly more than the number of vehicles GM sold during the same week in September a year ago.
  • Mark Scarpelli, president of Raymond Chevrolet in Antioc, Illinois, said customers are aware of the UAW strike, but "it hasn't hurt sales yet."
United Auto Workers members with General Motors picket outside of one of the automaker's truck plants in Flint, Mich. on Sept. 16. The union called a strike against the automaker after a deal was not reached by a Saturday night deadline.
Michael Wayland / CNBC

Despite a flurry of headlines and stories focusing on the United Auto Workers strike at General Motors, sales for the automaker have not slowed down.

LMC Automotive, analyzing data compiled by J.D Power, said GM sold approximately 43,000 vehicles during the first week of the UAW strike, which is slightly more than the number of vehicles GM sold during the same week in September a year ago.

"GM's sales are at least as strong, if not a little bit stronger than a year ago," said Jeff Schuster, industry analyst for LMC Automotive. Schuster believes GM, like other automakers, is benefiting from slightly higher incentives, a pullback in auto loan interest rates and healthy demand due to the economy.

As for the UAW strike, Schuster doubts it is making most buyers around the country think twice.

"If people are in the market to buy a vehicle, they're going to buy a vehicle," he said.

Mark Scarpelli, president of Raymond Chevrolet in Antioc, Illinois, said customers are aware of the UAW strike, but "it hasn't hurt sales yet." Scarpelli said he has enough inventory in stock to last at least a few weeks before potential buyers might be unable to buy a particular model. "We have 70 Chevy Silverado pickups," he said. "We are well stocked for the models people want."

He's more worried about his supply of parts to fix GM cars, trucks and SUVs. Since the strike began, GM's ability to ship parts to dealers has been severely hampered. The lack of parts is a growing concern for dealers since servicing and repairing vehicles is typically, the most profitable part of a dealership.

"We haven't seen an impact yet with parts," said Scarpelli. "But if this strike goes on another week we may notice it."

GM admitted the strike has hurt its ability to ship parts to dealers and is trying to mitigate the impact.

 "We are supplementing customer needs with inventories from a group of more than 300 wholesale dealers and AC Delco distributors," said GM spokesman Jim Cain. "We have also made arrangements to have many high volume maintenance and repair service parts shipped directly from our suppliers to dealers."