AKRON — As the United Auto Workers' (UAW) strike against the Big 3 domestic car makers drones along into its fourth week, industry pundits are starting to turn their attention to the inevitable domino effect on the industry's suppliers.
A recent survey by the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) — which represents more than 1,000 companies in the U.S. — of its original equipment supplier members revealed that close to 30% of them had to lay off some direct labor employees, and more than 60% expect to start layoffs by mid-October.
The MEMA membership does not include tire makers, which up to the start of the strike had been benefiiting thus far in 2023 from rising OE demand on growing new car sales.
"A defining characteristic of the automotive market so far in 2023 has been recovering new vehicle production leading to increasing new-vehicle inventories, growth in new-vehicle sales, improving affordability through modest price declines — or at least not increases — and more sales incentives," Jonathan Smoke, Cox Automotive Inc. senior economist, wrote Sept. 29.
"In other words, in many ways, we've seen a shift to more normal trends in most parts of the auto market."