The coronavirus pandemic has left no one untouched by its devastation. Millions of people have been tragically affected, industries have shut down, and small businesses across the globe have collapsed.
One of the hardest-hit industries is the automotive industry. A consequence of the lockdown and social distancing is that fewer people are making journeys by car. There is less traffic on the road, halted production lines, and a massive reduction in sales. Some positives have arisen from this: less pollution and an increase in healthier forms of transport like walking and cycling. However, the exact consequences for the automotive industry are yet to be fully realized. Once the lockdown is over and COVID-19 under control, there will be long-lasting effects that will resound for a long time to come.
What are some of the impacts we can expect to see?
Governments and countries worldwide have imposed various forms of lockdown and curfews to keep the virus under control. As a result, more people are staying at home, and fewer people are making journeys by car. With production lines on hold and factories closed, sales have inevitably seen a massive fall. But this temporary change in lifestyle may give rise to a long term change in attitude. Heartwarming headlines have gone viral about cleaner skies in China and clearer canals in Venice. Pollution is decreasing, and we are all helping to contribute by not going out. Keeping fit at home has become a massive trend, and people are following online workouts or using their allocated exercise to go for runs and bike rides. With this new uptake in physical fitness and environmentalism, we may see people continuing to opt for healthier, greener modes of transport in the future.
Factories across the world are starting to reopen for business, but many shut down, halting production lines for a long time. Many car companies contributed to helping with the coronavirus pandemic by using their factories to produce medical equipment. Companies like Tesla and Jaguar Landrover had a break from creating catalytic converters and SMC pneumatic actuators to manufacture ventilators and other forms of personal protective equipment. These companies have such a wealth of resources that they were quickly able to tweak their processes to help. As a result, we may see automotive manufacturers becoming more versatile, and being called on to lend a hand in any future global crises we may face.
We live in a highly globalized world, and automotive companies source their materials and parts from all over the globe. With different companies having different responses to the outbreak at various times, international automotive trade has been unreliable and unpredictable. Some factories shut down while others stayed open, and there has been a shortage of some materials due to temporary trade restrictions, causing trade to slow down dramatically. Once the lockdown is fully lifted, it may be some time before we see international trade return to normal.
In conclusion, the automotive industry has been affected a great deal by the coronavirus pandemic. Demand for cars has fallen, production lines put on standstill, and international trade ground to a halt. Precisely what the future holds is uncertain, but the automotive industry will be reeling from the effects for some time.