LOCKPORT, NY (WIVB) – The auto industry in Western New York State hits roadblocks as we see nationwide inventory shortages, used car prices through the roof and production cuts. But our unique location and enthusiastic workforce offer a special advantage.
From coast to coast, new cars are hard to find or out of stock.
“Dealers are not making the deals they used to make,” Car Concepts analyst Todd Turner said.
“They basically become order takers, customers come in there, wait for the car to show up, and they rush to get it before someone else does.”
Car Concepts analyst Todd Turner said the shortages are causing production cuts at America’s Big Three automakers. But there are exceptions.
Lockport’s General Motors Components plant is looking to hire 100 new workers to supply parts for GM trucks and SUVs despite the pandemic.
“This business has really taken off in the wake of the pandemic and we are working overtime to try to meet this demand and we are looking to increase our workforce to keep up with this supply,” said Lockport GM chief engineer Dan Hesch. .
Art Wheaton of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations said, “If you make parts for trucks and large SUVs, they sell like hot cakes. As soon as they are made, they are sold.
Art Wheaton is an automotive expert at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He says General Motors and Ford’s facilities in the Buffalo area are uniquely positioned to take advantage of changes in the auto industry.
General Motors’ factories in Lockport and Tonawanda produce parts for trucks and large SUVs, which are in high demand.
“Our location near Canada makes it easy for us to distribute to have auto assembly plants in Canada that we can support,” added Wheaton.
And as automakers find new sources of microchips, they could ramp up production and send the chips to their dealerships to install the chips.
“Because they built the trucks, but they don’t have the chips in it and they think being able to install computer chips is something the dealerships could do,” Wheaton said.
The Niagara Frontier Auto Dealers Association reports that sales of new cars, except Chevrolet, increased 40 percent for the first half of the year. But keep in mind that the Covid pandemic slammed all car sales last year.
Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative journalist who has been with the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here.