The union of Canadian Auto Workers is rattling its sabers towards Detroit, as it demands wage changes during a dramatic, difficult contract negotiation with GM, Chrysler and Ford. And if it goes into strike mode, it could hurt consumers on both sides of the northern border—with more than a dozen different vehicles facing shortages.
There’s a long list of cars built in Canada that it could affect. The Ford Edge and Flex, and their MKX and MKT Lincoln siblings, would be delayed. The brand-new Cadillac XTS could be delayed just as it’s about to be released to the world. The Chevy Equinox, Impala, and the hot Camaro would be delayed in Oshawa, a plant that operates on a separate CAW contract but would still face a shortage of transmissions. Five Chrysler models would be delayed, from the Dodge Challenger and Charger to the 200, 300 and the minivans for both brands. Buick would also suffer shortages with the entire Regal lineup, which would be a shame because it’s a good car.
“It’s more damaging than before the recession, because now there’s not really an excess inventory,” said Tom Libby, an analyst with Polk. “In some models, there’s shortages.” Some of those cars, like the Impala and Caravan, would run out as soon as the CAW went on strike.
It’s a dire situation. An extended strike by Canadian auto workers would hurt the supply of parts for vehicles, such as the Oshawa, Ontario plant that would lose a supply of transmissions from GM’s St. Catharines plant. In addition, there’s no room to shift production to any other North American plant, as the other places are running at full capacity, and many of these cars—like the Dodges—are built exclusively in Canada. The aforementioned Cadillac XTS will be able to get by, with an 85-day supply, but most dealerships are just getting their first shipments of the XTS into their lots.
Let’s hope the CAW situation resolves itself; the last time it went on strike in 1996, GM faced sales shortages for three weeks.
Source: The Detroit News