The Today Show on NBC Monday morning featured a stunning report on the auto industry, with reporter Tom Costello saying shortages of parts and labor is crippling the car repair business, adding to the woes of a shortage of new cars and skyrocketing prices for used cars. One analyst cited in the report said the situation was the worst since World War II when the U.S. was emerging from the Great Depression and was under mandatory rationing for the all-out war effort against the Axis powers Germany, Italy and Japan.
Oil filters, wiper blades, brake parts, engine parts, even entire engines are in short supply according to Costello. The report closed with a warning that tires could be in short supply this winter due to a rubber shortage.
In yet another problem tied to the global supply chain crisis, massive shortages in automobile parts and supplies are wreaking havoc on the automotive industry from dealerships to mechanics. @tomcostellonbc reports. pic.twitter.com/bFZ1aD0pry
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 18, 2021
Bloomberg reported Saturday on the shortage with this headline:
The $300 billion auto-parts and repair industry is facing widespread operational challenges, from spikes in the price of steel and other materials to workforce shortages and — like everyone else — delays getting goods unloaded at U.S. seaports, said Paul McCarthy, chief executive of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association.
No garage is being spared, whether franchise dealers who get their parts from the major automakers, independent warehouses, or small corner garages, McCarthy said.
“This is the most difficult supply-chain environment that I have ever seen,” AutoZone Inc. Chief Executive Officer William Rhodes said in a September earnings call. AutoZone is running “the lowest level of in-stock that I can ever remember,” said Rhodes, who started his career at the Memphis, Tennessee-based auto-parts retail giant in the 1990s and has been CEO since 2005.
“Oil filters are becoming harder to get, so when I buy them, I buy them in as big of quantities I can get,” said River Road Auto Service manager Danny Tomasian in Bethesda, Maryland.
The auto repair delays seem particularly acute in the U.S. because spare parts produced in Asia get tangled in the global shipping clog and cargo jams at seaports.
Xu Haidong, a vice chief engineer at the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said production and supply of parts are sufficient in his country…
While the nation’s transportation system has been in a growing state of crisis, Biden’s Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has been away from his job for much of the past two months for paternity leave, not informing the public about his months-long break until last week.
They didn’t previously announce it, but Buttigieg’s office told West Wing Playbook that the secretary has actually been on paid leave since mid-August to spend time with his husband, Chasten, and their two newborn babies.
— Matthew Kaminski (@KaminskiMK) October 15, 2021