The automotive industry has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, with factories being forced to shut, supply chains broken, showrooms closing and demand for automotive products dwindling due to travel restrictions. Can you believe that less than 200 cars were made during April in the UK!
However, with restrictions now starting to ease, there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. We’re already starting to see a surge in pent up demand as dealers reopen and production gears back up; along with a huge boost to the sector with the recently announced news that Nissan and possibly Renault are moving production to the UK from Spain.
As we are told by the politicians, there is likely to be a new normal in our post-COVID-19 world. Here are our thoughts on what’s in store for us petrolheads:
Fewer car shares
Due to social distancing which is likely to be in place for a long time after the lockdown is completely lifted, we’ll almost certainly see fewer car shares. Journeys will be made solo or with other members of a person’s household. In turn, this will result in more cars on the road.
Public transport usage has increased in recent weeks as restrictions start to ease however usage is likely to remain considerably less than before COVID-19. We feel most people will opt to walk or drive when possible. Of course, those without a car may still need to rely on public transport whilst practising social distancing. Public transport companies will likely limit the number of people travelling at a given time.
Since the pandemic, many automotive companies have upped their online and social media presences considerably, most now relying almost exclusively on digital marketing to promote their brands and products. Some have done so reluctantly, realising that it’s increasingly the only way to stay connected to customers; others enthusiastically, seeing the huge opportunity to engage with the massive audiences flocking to consume digital media and technologies.
Customers have also been fully embracing online shopping and we are not alone in predicting that this may well become a way of life for many. In fact, market research giant GlobalWebIndex recently reported that nearly half of global consumers do not expect to resume shopping in physical stores for ‘some time’.
Fewer shows and exhibitions
With many major events on the annual automotive calendar either already cancelled, postponed or in jeopardy for the foreseeable future, we expect to see a decline in shows. To what extent, and how long this will last is difficult to say, but we predict that lots of brands and consumers alike will take advantage of digital live streams and live reveals. We’ve even heard talk of events and exhibitions being held online, with exhibitors paying for an online space that consists of a virtual stand and live streams.
Motorsport UK has already announced that no race permits will be issued to circuits until the end of June, with Silverstone set to hold this year’s British F1 GP as a ‘ghost race’, with no spectators present trackside. We’re guessing that track days and testing are likely to resume first, as the numbers are controllable and social distancing is possible. As with F1, we are also expecting closed-door club racing to resume at some point in July – all subject to government legislation of course. Good news for the track day enthusiast and club racer; and whilst not quite the same as physically spectating at least the bigger series are set to re-start and either watched on TV or live streamed.
More time with your pride and joy
With the industry starting to unlock and limitations easing, the time you get to spend enjoying your car will start to increase – so now’s the perfect time to invest in some mods and upgrades to ensure your pride and joy is looking as sharp as possible! One of the best ways to do this is by fitting alloy wheel rim protectors to keep your alloys in pristine condition.
Unlike tyre trapped rim protectors, Rimblades alloy protectors can be installed by you, on your drive or in your garage. They simply bond on to your rims using 3M adhesive so there are no rigid parts to cause wheel damage! The latest 3M system we use achieves maximum bond at 72 hours and is approved in independent tests by both 3M and Millbrook. Also, Rimblades are a performance product, first and foremost, so we were very careful to avoid compromising the tyre bead when designing our rim protection solutions.
Rimblades currently retail at around a quarter of the cost of tyre trapped protectors whilst utilising high tech materials costing up to three times more (based on Rimblades Ultra which utilises Santoprene TPV rubber by Exxon Mobil).