Coronavirus has had a devastating impact. It has brought unimaginable tragedy for many families, and huge challenges to businesses and individuals all over the globe. This, of course, includes the auto industry, which has suffered the consequences of COVID-19.

Driving habits have changed and car manufacturers have been forced to alter their ways of business. 

While coronavirus has brought countless negatives to the automotive world, there have been some positives. The price of petrol in the UK fell to the lowest it’s been in four years, for instance.

Below, we go through the biggest repercussions of the pandemic on the auto industry…

Commuting Habits

Before the coronavirus crisis, commuting behaviour was hard to change, particularly in light of increased traffic and harmful car emissions. However, nearly 50% of people will adjust the way they commute to work once the COVID-19 outbreak lockdowns are lifted.

Cycling looks set to increase by 71%, while bus travel drops by almost a third. This comes after Boris Johnson declared “a new golden age for cycling”, while discouraging public transport if at all possible.

As buses and trains are avoided, we could see a rise in company cars and vehicle ownership, particularly in big cities. Elsewhere, more companies could begin using the cycle to work scheme.

Car Sharing & Coronavirus

Car sharing is seen as one of many viable solutions to the growing concerns around car emissions and global warming. Unfortunately, this is not an option for many households right now. Coronavirus is much more likely to spread without social distancing, a near impossible feat while sat in a vehicle.

The Department of Transport said: “If you normally share a vehicle with people from other households for essential journeys, we recommend you find a different way to travel.”

The coronavirus pandemic could have a knock-on effect on the number of people sharing lifts. Again, this could result in more people needing vehicles for work.

Car Manufacturing

Car manufacturing slowed down by 99.7% in April 2020 compared with the previous year. 

With motor manufacturers and traders halting production, many automakers switched their focus to creating PPE for key workers.

Short-term effects on the car industry could be drastic, as 400,000 fewer cars have been produced in 2020 so far. As lockdown forced people to stay at home, car buying has halved in the first five months of this year. 

However, with car dealerships reopening in June, car sales will rise once more, albeit potentially much more gradually.

Electric & Hybrid Vehicles on the rise

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused hesitation from most car buyers, but electric cars and hybrids have actually gained traction in 2020. In fact, the new EV market actually grew in May 2020, with Tesla remaining the most popular brand.

Motorists are now making much shorter journeys due to coronavirus lockdowns, meaning electric and hybrid ranges have become much more workable.

If all cars were electric, emission levels would drop by 12%. Since the spread of the virus, the air has become much cleaner and less polluted

Meanwhile, many animal species have thrived as a result of lockdown. People are much more conscious of their carbon footprint, making the government’s Road to Zero strategy all the more prominent.

If you are interested in electric vehicle leasing, we have a range of EV offers available right now.

Practicality over luxury

Experts have warned that coronavirus could cause a global recession “worse than the 2008 financial crash”. Boris Johnson has warned there could be “many job losses” as a result of the economic impact of the virus.

Businesses and individuals are set to become much more stringent with their spending, with practicality potentially taking priority over luxury.

Long-commitments and large expenditures will be replaced by more tactful and less risky solutions. This includes short-term leasing, which swaps the uncertainty of being tied down long-term with one-month, rolling contracts.

More Remote Working

Most people have swapped lengthy commutes and holiday road trips for shorter, more necessary car journeys. Could this lead many to realise they no longer need the type of vehicle they currently own?

Sales of city cars and hatchbacks could see growth due to their affordability, reliability, and insurance benefits. 

Working from home can improve performance by 13%, and flexi working has become much more popular in recent months. Our increased openness to remote working could see city life and driving habits change dramatically over the next few years.

Event Cancellations

Major events that would otherwise pump a lot of money into the automotive industry have been cancelled due to the pandemic.

The likes of the Grand Prix and Paris Motor Show help manufacturers promote new models and make tremendous profits. Without them, luxury car sales could dip even further.

Employment

Many jobs have been frozen and furloughed, while workforces are divided and reduced. Could this see an increased reliance on freelancers and temporary workers from business owners? 

Providing a company car can be a huge obstacle for start-ups and small businesses who need their staff mobilised.

Recruitment always involves an element of risk, with 3 in every 10 new team members quitting after less than 90 days. This often means Managing Directors are left with a company car with nobody to drive it. 

Businesses that rely on temporary workers could use shorter lease deals to swerve the risks of lengthy contracts and big investments.

To learn more about this, check out our blog on the business benefits of leasing a car

Production Lines & Supply Chains

Roughly 80% of car parts are imported from China, and many automakers are heavily reliant on delivery connections across multiple nations.

Coronavirus and Brexit have complicated supply chains and made them costlier, with European vehicles facing 10% import tariffs from 2021.

Check out our guide on Brexit and the auto industry to discover how to avoid the uncertainty of car ownership.

MOTs and Servicing

As people go back to work and driving tests return, it’s important to make the necessary checks to maximise safety. These include examining your tyres, fluids and lights.

In 2020, driving license renewals and MOT deadlines have been extended to cover the effects of lockdowns and COVID. To continue protecting your set of wheels, be sure to follow our guide on bad driving habits to avoid.

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