Red Hot Summer Demand; Ice Cold Availability
While no one could have predicted the impact of COVID-19 on the automotive industry and society in general, we can’t help but wish we were all in a better position to deal with the aftermath. Production ground to a near standstill in 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, yet demand for Roadster Salon spiders climbed to an all-time high. This has created a backlog of projects never seen before in our history. Frankly, we are overwhelmed.
The backlog has occurred for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there are only a handful of domestic suppliers for Fiat parts, and arguably Roadster Salon is their biggest single customer. The pandemic forced suppliers to re-evaluate their inventories for 2021 and take a more conservative approach to stocking their shelves. Demand has emptied their supply of popular items and caused unanticipated delays. Critical items like bumpers, seat belts, air conditioning, ventilation systems, and other mechanical components have created huge obstacles to completing projects.
Secondarily, labor shortages have dramatically impacted the timeline for bodywork and paint, as well as other sub-contracted items. The end result is a huge headache and a completely unpredictable timeline for most of the projects on our calendar. Although these conditions are temporary, we’re functioning in a new business environment where everything is a moving target. It’s become fool’s gold to rely on any information we receive about shipments or contracted labor. Obviously, that affects the accuracy of updates we provide to our customers.
It’s incredibly frustrating and we appreciate your patience.