Coronavirus and the impact on the Automotive Industry
The Coronavirus has had a strong influence on the economies of countries around the world, including South Africa. Businesses are closing, people are losing jobs and things are just not getting better. Fortunately for some, various automotive manufacturers have responded creatively and reactively by putting mechanisms in place to ease the impact of COVID-19. Let’s take a look at how some of your favourite manufacturers are responding to the pandemic.
Jaguar Land Rover – The English manufacturer has confirmed that it will temporarily suspend production at its UK manufacturing facilities. The company’s intention is to resume production towards the end of April, subject to review of the rapidly-changing circumstances. Their India, Brazil and China facilities, however, remain open.
The company has also deployed more than 160 vehicles globally to support emergency response organisations during the coronavirus crisis. This includes 11 vehicles that have been provided to the South African Red Cross Society to assist them in promoting hygiene, creating COVID-19 awareness and distributing hygiene essentials like gloves and masks in the most vulnerable areas of our country.
Toyota, Lexus and Hino - Leon Theron, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Toyota South Africa Motors is optimistic about the measures the company has put in place: “I would therefore like to take this opportunity to reassure our customers that we have taken every action we possibly can to mitigate the effects of spreading this dreaded disease by requesting specific steps that all our dealers take to increase their hygiene and sanitisation procedures, as well as recommending practicable solutions to minimise social interactions.”
These steps include all dealership staff members sanitising their hands throughout the day, compulsory sanitisation for all dealership visitors and fewer people to be transported in courtesy shuttles after they have dropped off their vehicles for servicing.
Toyota Financial Services has also announced that with effect from 1 April – 30 June 2020, they will implement measures to provide relief to individual and business customers whose financial stability has been impacted by COVID-19.
Mercedes-Benz South Africa – The German manufacturer has made a decision to gradually decrease production and manufacturing at its South African facilities in East London. Production will eventually halt for a period of five weeks from 9 April 2020.
Nissan South Africa – Nissan is prioritising the health and safety of their staff by halting all operations at their Rosslyn plant. The plant will remain closed indefinitely, aside from a skeleton staff to maintain and service equipment. In addition to this, a work-from-home approach will also be implemented for Nissan employees during this period.