After the pandemic, the automotive industry is being modernised.
The automotive industry took a huge hit when lockdown began, and the pandemic took hold of the world. First seen in China, sales plunged 71 per cent in February of last year. This continued into March and April where sales had dropped 47 per cent in the US and plummeted an incredible 80 per cent in Europe. Despite this, the automotive industry has bounced back incredibly. Looking at the second half of 2020 and the start of 2021, car manufacturers around the world have seen record levels of production. So just how has the automotive industry bounced back?
Before the pandemic, consumers and potential customers could explore vehicle makes and models online to compare prices or even experience virtual 360-degree angles of their future car. Those features were available as a first step in the purchase of the vehicle. The actual sale, however, was required to take place at the car dealerships themselves. During the pandemic, when dealerships around the planet were forced to abide by social distancing rules or complete closures, this technology proved invaluable. Many transactions then took place over the phone, via video call or in controlled covid free environments.
Even so, as the pandemic-related restrictions have eased in some areas, customers have flocked back to dealership premises in fantastic numbers. Many people still want to interact with a dealer to get the best deals and to interact with their car of choice. Many people also want to test-drive their vehicles before buying them. Post pandemic, the virtual and physical options in a care sale mean that however you want to purchase your vehicle, you can. Tesla is one make in particular, along with other ahead of the curve companies such as Porsche, Volkswagen, and Volvo all have excellent means of selling without needing to physically be at the dealership.
Other beneficiaries are application-based car purchases, such as car finance deals. Car Finance Genie, for example, offer fantastic car finance deals on their website without the need to visit a dealership, which means they were as prepared as they could be for the pandemic when it hit.
One more thing to take into account is that people may travel less now that they have discovered how much they can get done without a car at all. To counteract this, however, with many people fearing public spaces, they may commute more by car to avoid mixing with others on crowded buses and trains whilst cases continue to rise.
The pandemic also allowed many companies to rethink their strategy. Many found out that they still saw a great number of sales without their dealerships being open. This means that they can afford to close some premises and cut costs without seeing a huge drop in sales. Although this means fewer jobs and increased unemployment, there will be new employment opportunities in the digital space as online, telephone and marketing channels all need more manpower.
All of these ways in which the car industry has bounced back suggest that the pandemic has pushed an already changing marketplace to act quicker. The automotive industry will continue to become more digital, more remote and more technology-based. Physically, it will also become more electric renewable and sustainable.
This can be seen in an increase of electric-vehicle sales increase by 43 per cent in 2020 and early 2021. One thing that is very clear as the industry successfully bounces back from COVID 19 is that skillsets will require retraining. Many people working in the automotive industry will now have something to offer the software engineer space just as much as the mechanical engineer space throughout 2021 and well into the 21st century.