Nearly every facet of our lives has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. From manufacturing to shipping to sales, the automotive industry experienced significant difficulties. The pandemic caused delays and disruptions related to manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain issues, paired with the changes made to consumer behavior, and the entire industry was upended.
Compliance with the social distancing standards and health protocols the pandemic introduced was something no one could have anticipated. As COVID-19 became widespread, the manufacturing world slowed to a crawl. Factories closed or operated with fewer employees to comply with the new safety standards.
There were deficiencies in the essential parts needed to manufacture automobiles. The electronic components, as well as engine parts, were simply not available. Every industry began to face similar challenges, which created supply chain issues.
This forced delays for the automobile makers, which delayed their production timelines and reduced the number of vehicles they put on the road. This led to substantial economic impacts.
Consumer Behavior Changed During The Pandemic
While so many of us were deemed non-essential workers and stayed home baking banana bread and watching Tiger King, the country saw a shift in transportation needs. Public transportation became a less desirable option as society tried to avoid contact with each other. Demand grew for personal vehicles, increasing demand for larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs, diminishing the demand for compact and smaller vehicles. And while overall driving decreased during the pandemic, car accident lawyers Mingo & Yankala report seeing fatal accidents increase.
Additionally, car dealerships were not considered essential, and many closed or had a reduction in hours and employees. This led to a surge in online vehicle shopping. This is likely a trend that will continue to grow as people are pleased with the online car-buying experience.
The pandemic forced the automobile manufacturing industry to reduce its production, causing its profits to plunge. Employees had to be laid off or furloughed. Every effort was made by the industry to cut costs where possible.
Out of the desperation caused by the supply chain challenges, the cost of raw materials and parts skyrocketed, further jeopardizing automakers’ profits. Because of the challenges COVID-19 brought on, automobile manufacturers reached out for government loans and grants. The assistance they were granted was not without controversy. Many claim the bailout was unfair since the auto industry was already laboring unsuccessfully to overcome these challenges long before the pandemic began.
The Environmental Worries Caused By The Pandemic
People were staying home more, reducing the need for vehicles that ran on gasoline or diesel fuel. Environmental concerns came to the forefront of the industry, causing many automakers to focus on their lines of electric vehicles. Hybrids and electric cars have a smaller carbon footprint, meaning there is a natural shift away from fossil fuels.
On the other hand, the industry is struggling, and sustainable vehicles might be placed on the back burner while work goes into rebounding the suffering economy. While sustainability is an important goal, time will tell how COVID-19 caused it to progress or delay.
Rebounding From COVID-19’s Significant Effects
Every industry seemed to suffer due to the effects of the pandemic, but few changed as significantly as the automobile industry. Automakers have faced changes in manufacturing due to the supply chain crisis and the disruptions that came with it. Consumer habits are forever altered, creating challenges of their own.
The industry will adapt over time and progress towards sustainability, and filling consumer needs is bound to rebound. It will be interesting to see how the industry evolves after such a global, life-altering event. The hope is that with flexibility and new, hard-won knowledge, the industry can bounce back better than ever.