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As United Auto Workers strike continues, local experts say buy soon

COLORADO, USA (KRDO) - As the United Auto Workers strike against the Big Three auto manufacturers in the United States is now in its 4th day, a local economist is saying that if you're in the market for a new car, buy soon.

The "Big Three" as they're called consists of the three automotive manufacturing giants in the United States: General Motors (GM), Ford, and Stellantis -- who owns Jeep, Chrysler, and many other brands.

Tatiana Bailey is an economist who runs a non-profit group called Data- Driven Economic Strategies.

She says that if this holdout persists, consumers could start to see some very real issues, and for the manufacturers themselves.

She explains that the Big Three have estimated on average they have about 2 months left of inventory, in the hopes they'll reach an agreement with the UAW representatives before then.

But Bailey says that eight-week mark will come sooner than people think, and once it does it could cause some critical issues.

"Then we have even a more restricted supply, and we're kind of back to COVID just in terms of prices going up, not only for new vehicles but also used vehicles, because sometimes people have no choice," explained Bailey.

The UAW wants an increase in wages of about 40% over the course of a 4 year period to match the surge in profits from the Big Three, as well as the increase in CEO salaries over the last several years.

The wage increase, among other benefits, is something Bailey says those workers have held off from asking for since the last great recession in the late 2000s when the Big Three was bailed out by federal assistance.

Now with with an increasing cost of living, inflation, and those reported surges in profits by their employers, Bailey says they want their share.

"UAW is now kind of making up for lost time," said Bailey.

So what does this mean if you're in the hunt for a new car?

Bailey says if you can, buy now.

"If you're able to do that, even with these high-interest rates, I would do it. It's a form of insurance that you're going to be able to get a car and that hopefully you're not going to be paying, you know, 15% more," said Bailey.

Bailey also says it's likely that EV manufacturers, as well as other brands like Honda and Volkswagen, could have sales see a boost if the strike lasts long enough.

"It's looking to them like maybe this is going to go on a little bit longer. Can they do some things to crank out even a few more, you know, 100 cars in order to help meet the need?"

Bailey also warns the Big Three could skirt around production issues by taking those jobs overseas, but she adds it's a risk that those picketing are aware of.

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Tyler Cunnington

Tyler is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.


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