The walkout, now into its third day, has already shut down the Detroit-based partsmaker, which produces axles and related components. GM accounts for 80 percent of American Axle's sales, and the automaker will feel the result of a lengthy walkout disproportionately, though other automakers may eventually be impacted, according to industry observers.
GM had been building inventory of the affected parts, but not enough to keep open its Pontiac Truck and Bus plant, which produces body-on-frame trucks. Several more assembly plants could close, in the coming days.
There’s a bit of a silver lining, of sorts, for GM, some of the vehicles that could be impacted by the strike, such as the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, have already been impacted by rising gas prices and declining sales – so there already are plenty of them on dealer lots to weather a relatively brief strike.