Over the past few weeks, a strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union at America’s Big Three manufacturers, Ford, GM, and Stellantis, has captivated headlines.
Even though economists say “a short strike would have a small impact with limited spillovers into the aggregate economy,” a prolonged strike could affect the more than 7,000 small businesses that are part of the specialty aftermarket industry–along with the million jobs and billions in wages supported by these businesses.
While many Americans may be unfamiliar with the name of our industry, represented by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), they probably have firsthand experience with it. We’re the industry that manufactures, distributes, and sells the parts on your vehicles that make them taller, lower, faster, prettier, and have a better sound system than is standard, among other things. And it’s all your vehicles–your passenger car, your neighbor’s truck, or that lucky friend who has four-wheel off-road vehicles you sometimes get to ride.
Sixty percent of those who choose to modify their vehicle after they drive it off the lot typically start doing so within the first six months of ownership. They buy these parts from our manufacturers and retailers and look to builders to install those parts. As production slows or stops at the plants, it will create a ripple effect. Fewer new cars driven off the lot means fewer customers buying our products and using installers.
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