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Over two weeks into the United Auto Workers strike, and it’s potentially just getting started. The strike expanded on Friday, raising the total to roughly 25,000 workers from select plants, and UAW President Shawn Fain has said the union may continue to gradually expand its strike to new facilities if talks continue to stall with the automakers. The latest expansion targeted General Motors and Ford plants but not Stellantis (formerly Chrysler) after Fain said the company made a significant offer. Last week, the UAW strike gained further national visibility after President Biden visited the picket line.

CivicScience tracked consumer concern and car-buying intent ahead of the UAW strike, and last week featured data indicating strong support among U.S. adults for the striking auto workers (with Republicans much more likely than Democrats to support the auto companies).

In the latest polling, 10% of U.S. adults expect the UAW strike to have a ‘significant’ impact on their personal financial situation (with 32% total claiming it will have at least a ‘minor’ financial impact). Among U.S. adults planning to buy a new car in the next 90 days, that figure increases to more than 50%. Those ‘very likely’ to buy a used car in the next three months are 10 percentage points more likely than prospective new car buyers to expect the UAW to have any degree of impact on their personal finances. 

With such a high percentage of prospective car buyers expecting to be impacted by the UAW strike, they’re also expecting to do some maneuvering if their desired car is unavailable. Zeroing in on new car buyers and leasers, 35% of those ‘very or somewhat likely’ to buy or lease a new vehicle in the next 90 days claim they would buy a different model from the same manufacturer in this situation. Twenty-two percent of this camp would defect to a different manufacturer, and another 20% would look to the used car market. Nearly one-quarter of likely car buyers/leasers would either delay their purchase for up to six months or not get a new car at all.

CivicScience will continue monitoring how the UAW strike impacts consumers and prospective car buyers. For more specialized information about how shakeups to the auto industry and labor disputes might impact your business, book a meeting today.