Since the pandemic hit U.S. shores earlier this year, one of the industries that got hit pretty hard is the automotive industry. From car manufacturers to diesel service and repair shops, the industry received a pretty good battering from the pandemic not just in the U.S. but all over the world.
Now that U.S. states are reopening and getting back into the swing of things, what fate lies ahead for the automotive industry as a whole?
Ending the Cash Drought
Many makers and suppliers started reopening their plants as early as mid-May to slowly build momentum and hopefully, end the cash drought brought about by the pandemic and two-month lockdown.
Three of the biggest manufacturers of American cars — Ford, Fiat Chrysler, and General Motors — have all been gearing up for their reopening weeks before it was announced. However, even as they all open their doors and let workers back in, it is likely that they will come across several hindrances that will give them a hard time getting back on track.
For one, this restart will test how COVID-ready these American manufacturers are; if production can be done safely, meaning no infections, no worker deaths, and no disruptions in the supply chain.
Wall Street Journal reports that it will be “slow and arduous process.”
Projections for the industry show that automakers will only produce about nine million units for this year, the lowest it has been since 2011.
Knowing the risks of returning to work, some car companies have supplied care packages to their employees and workers including PPEs. This somehow gives workers a prelude to what they will return to.
Employees and workers are now managing their expectations that they will be returning to the same workplace but under a different environment. Familiar but not quite.
Aside from their usual routine, they now have to strictly comply with CDC COVID-19 safety regulations and guidelines in the workplace.
When asked how they feel about going back to work, there is an almost equal number of responses of excitement and worry. A lot are relieved to get back to their jobs while others are fearful about the still very real threat of the virus. They are thankful that they once again have the means to pay for their bills, but the worry brought about by their fear of getting sick is undeniable.
Supply Chain Concerns
Since there has been a severe disruption in the supply chain, the automotive industry’s revival will not be an overnight success. It is going to take some time to regain its footing.
Plants and factories all over the world still aren’t 100% operational which means that raw materials and automotive parts will not be readily available due to lack of manpower operating in the said factories and plants.
Until it gets to the point that industries have been restored to their full working capabilities, the automotive industry will continue to face challenges as it navigates through this tough post-lockdown season.
If you think that lockdown season was tough, navigating through uncharted territory in a post-lockdown and COVID-19 world will be bogged down by trials and errors until they find a solution that works. To say that it will be a dynamic working environment is an understatement. We all can only hope for the best.