GM Dealers Fear Lack of Cars for Influx of Buyers
Posted July 1, 1998
RALEIGH — GM car dealers are running out of stuff to sell. Strikes have idled more than 100,000 workers. No employees and no parts mean no cars. So if you're planning on picking up a new GM car or truck, you'd better hurry.
The picket lines in Michigan are really driving up car and truck sales in Raleigh. Local car dealers say they're excited by the increased numbers in sales, but they're getting worried that while there are plenty of car-buyers, there may not be enough cars.
Some of the cars you see on the Sir Walter Chevrolet lot can't be found anywhere else in Raleigh. GM gave the new dealership a little extra inventory to work with during its starting months. That means there are just that many more cars flying off the lot.
"The increase in traffic over the past couple weeks has been pretty amazing," says George Anderson of Sir Walter Chevrolet. "And there has been a rush of activity."
The rush has resulted in a record-breaking month in sales for the year. Dealers thank the strike for that, but they also blame the strike for diminishing inventory and nothing coming in to fill the empty spaces.
"It's a real concern of ours," Anderson explains, "and the things we will run short of first are the more popular vehicles."
Sir Walter is the third Raleigh dealership the Murphys have visited during their search for the popular Tahoe sports utility vehicle.
"We wanted a Tahoe for quite some time," admits GM customer Patrick Murphy. "The strike's put a little more urgency into it. We just want to make sure we get the color we want."
As the strike continues, the chances are not good that car-buyers will be able to find what they want. Dealers say they're just hopeful the strikers will soon go back to work.
"This is very unusual," Anderson says. "This is the first time I remember a strike where they don't seem to be agreeing on anything, so it's like there's no end in sight."
General Motors has already begun huge cut-backs within the company, and if the strike continues, local dealerships like Sir Walter will have to do the same. Local GM dealership managers tell WRAL they have enough inventory to last the next 30 to 60 days, that's when they really may start to feel some negative impact from the strike.