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LINDON – If you had to, how long could you wait for your car to be repaired? days? weeks? How about months? That’s how long a global shortage of parts keeps many cars off the road, even for relatively simple repairs.
And the frustration is not only felt by motorists, because body shops and mechanics are facing enormous backlogs.
Months of waiting for a simple solution
Grant Clark’s daughter’s Volkswagen spun on ice and crashed into a curb last December.
“Not much damage, but it did enough for the airbags to deploy,” Clark said.
As far as accidents go, it was very minor. Not nearly enough for the insurance company to damage the car. Instead it was taken to a body shop in Lindon to have the deployed airbags replaced. It’s been sitting there for almost a year, and Volkswagen has told Clark they don’t have the parts.
“There’s just no end in sight,” Clark said.
He thinks he would have been better off if the accident had been worse.
“If it had been total they would have just given me the value of the car and I would have gone ahead and gotten another car.”
Clark said he understands there are problems in the supply chain, but he wishes the automaker would shift at least some of its efforts to supporting its current customers.
“They make brand new cars,” he said. “They offered to sell me a new car, but they can’t fix my old car.”
What does Volkswagen say about this? Not so far. KSL-TV reached out to two Volkswagen executives in Virginia and heard nothing back. KSL-TV then contacted several Volkswagen executives at the company’s headquarters in Germany. Still nothing. It wasn’t that the news didn’t get through, because KSL-TV received confirmation: a reply from one of the executives, who said he was on paternity leave.
But the parts shortage that keeps cars off the roads isn’t just a Volkswagen issue.
Mechanics are just as frustrated
At Steve’s Automotive Specialists in Sandy, CEO Jeremy Smith said it’s tough everywhere.
“We’re sitting on 11 cars waiting for parts,” Smith said. “For some of these we expect the parts within weeks. We have one or two that we have been waiting for more than 60 days.”
Jeremy Smith of Steve’s Automotive Specialists tells me they’ve had several cars on hold for weeks and some are still waiting for parts after 60 days.
Smith was just returning from an automotive conference in Texas, where he said mechanics and body repair technicians were all complaining about the same problem.
“There are parts of the country where they seem to have many thousands of cars that they can’t get back on the road just from rental companies,” he explained, “because they can’t get the parts for them and they can’t get them back on the road.” Street.”
Auto parts come mostly from China, and with China still largely in lockdown and trying to quell the pandemic, parts are nearly impossible to get.
“Oh boy, do more stuff in America,” Smith replied. “I mean, that’s going to be the first thing I’m going to throw out there. I mean, we don’t produce anything here anymore.”
A global parts shortage is hampering the work of service centers across the country as they are forced to wait for parts from overseas manufacturers.
problems in the supply chain
These supply chain issues are not only affecting people who need parts for their current cars, but also new cars. According to a report by JD Power, “new vehicle quality has declined significantly” and the new vehicle industry “experienced an 11% year-over-year increase in problems due to supply chain issues.”
“Actually, I just want to have the car repaired,” says Clark, who does not yet have a timetable for when his Volkswagen will be back on the road.
“They say it’s backordered. That means it could arrive next week,” he said. Or: “It could be next year.”
The dashboard of Grant Clark’s Volkswagen has been disassembled for almost a year while the workshop awaits new airbags from the manufacturer.
Ever since the pandemic lifted the curtain on how dependent our country has become on manufacturers from other countries, there has been a push to make more auto parts in America. Perhaps the most notable example is a $1.8 billion facility being built in Indiana that will make microchips for cars.