ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Repairs on cars and trucks are still taking longer than normal as supply chain problems continue to cause problems nearly three years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve got cars sitting here since April waiting for parts still,” said Phil Futrell, president of Auto Body Specialists in Rockford.
Futrell’s is just one repair shop that’s at the mercy of a supply chain problem that dates to March 2020, when the pandemic halted the economy and sent millions of people across the county to virtual unemployment lines.
The auto industry has since put most people back to work locally. But with manufacturing hiccups, shipping and transportation problems that go with a host of inflation-related issues, some parts are on backorder for months at a time.
Along with microchips, parts like airbags, wheels, electronics, and fenders are still not easy to come by. For shops that have relied on salvage yards and after-market suppliers, there have been fewer snags. But shops like Auto Body Specialists that use original parts are at the mercy of manufacturers.
“There are parts delays, and we focus on OEM manufacturer’s parts,” Futrell said.
Futrell says he’s been fortunate that supply chain problems haven’t meant less business. For every car that sits without parts, there are more coming in. His business is doing fine. It’s his customers who are feeling the squeeze.
“On our end it’s not a problem,” Futrell said. “On the customers’ end, unfortunately, they are waiting for cars. Rentals are running out, and they don’t have their cars to drive.”
Analysts say rising interest rates, inflation, and energy costs are expected to cause supply chain shortages to continue well into the new year.