No business in the United Kingdom has been untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been described by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as, “the worst public health crisis for a generation.”
Like in many industries, the impact of coronavirus on the car industry and its workers has been devastating, factories, dealerships, vehicle insurance policy providers and local businesses have all been affected.
Factories, plants and events have either been closed or cancelled around the world, with staff now working from home where possible.
As with any crisis, the health and wellbeing of family, friends, colleagues and human beings is always our first concern. But many of us are now also focusing our attention towards the global economy, as this supports and provides the jobs that give us our security and influences so many aspects of modern-day life.
The motor industry is one of the most connected industries throughout the world. Back in February, it was reported that sales of new cars in China fell by an unprecedented 79 per cent as consumers of both new and used cars stayed in their homes to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
This led to many businesses, including motor trade dealerships, closing their doors while the country took shelter from the illness. Here in the UK, Ford Dagenham has been closed and Nissan confirmed the closure of its plant in Sunderland. In Crewe, Bentley has also now closed its production plant. The CEO of Bentley said, “the well-being of our colleagues is our number one priority”.
One of the largest global motor trade events to be cancelled due to coronavirus was the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, several new car launch events have also followed suit and now been cancelled. Given the number of the launch events affected, it is likely that the number of new car sales in the UK will be affected during 2020. The National Franchised Dealers Association has not yet released a statement on how it expects main dealers will be affected this year.
However, we are also seeing the industry pull together to offer their support helping to fight against the virus. Both Vauxhall and Honda are in discussions with the UK Government to use factory space to build the extra ventilators that will be required by patients.
We can all help by following the best preventative advice given, which remains for employees and members of the public to be extra vigilant with washing their hands, using and disposing of tissues and following the social distancing advice.
Social distancing involves working from home whenever possible, avoiding all unnecessary travel, staying away from crowded places, avoiding social gatherings with friends and families wherever possible, and staying two metres from other people.