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Supply Chain Woes Cause Auto Parts Shortage, Wreaking Havoc On Auto Industry

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- The supply chain slow down continues to impact everyday life. The supply chain is made up of the many steps that brings a product to a customer, but right now, the chain seems to be broken, or at least crimped in many places and nowhere is it more evident than service stations that repair cars and trucks.

"Before the pandemic we were able to get to get parts in days or even the same day," explained Enrique Finkelstein, owner of the Red Bird Exxon on the corner of Bird Road and Red Road.

Red Bird Exxon on the corner of Bird Road and Red Road (CBS4)

The station is a popular gas and repair location for folks in South Miami and Coral Gables where no one is immune from the parts slow down. So where are those hard-to-get parts?

They are stuck in Chinese ports. When the container ships arrive on the U.S. West coast, they are hung up again because the ports are backed up due to labor shortages. Dock workers, truck drivers, warehouse workers and clerks aren't working due to COVID concerns, low pay, and what many people are calling the "The Great Resignation."

One of Finkelstein's biggest problems is finding parts delivery persons.

"Deliveries are getting very complicated. The companies we are dealing with, they have problems with drivers and all that," he said.


The impact of the global semiconductor shortage is strongly felt by local mechanics. The production of new cars and trucks has been curtailed, which has led to customers purchasing used cars or keeping their old vehicles longer which need repairs. That places a heavier burden on the parts supply chain.

"That makes our job difficult because we have the car sitting here for a long time waiting for the parts," said Finkelstein.

Auto parts are a $300 billion dollar industry which is now suffering a major economic impact due to the kink in the supply system.

Tires and spark plugs are not a real problem, but beyond that, specialized parts like unique oil filters and gaskets are. "The regular parts are ok but when you got a part that they don't have in stock and have to order from a main warehouse that's when that is very difficult," said Finkelstein, "It is frustrating for the customer, not always easy for them to be patient. They need their car; we understand the situation but sometimes they don't understand our situation."

So, is there any light at the end of the supply chain problem affecting the auto industry?

"Who knows?" said Finkelstein. "They don't know, they don't know. We ask when is it going to end and they don't know."

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