FREE TO READ – Global pandemic sector recovery briefing | Automotive Industry News

The auto industry, like others, is now recovering from an unprecedented crisis

As we enter a recovery phase around the world, we aim to bring you the latest news and intelligence on the speed, nature and shape of the automotive sector’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This regularly updated article follows on from our COVID-19 daily update article that covered rapidly unfolding crisis developments and their immediate impact on autos (first published March 12).

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28 August

Online shopping has taken off during the pandemic and there’s also been a shift towards electric vans for delivery in urban areas. This order from Amazon for electric vans from Mercedes is the largest electric van order it has received to date. Amazon orders 1,800 e-vans from Mercedes.

UK commercial vehicle (CV) production grew 3.6% in July, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), with 5,234 commercial vehicles rolling off production lines. The slight increase follows a particularly low volume July 2019, when key model changeovers affected factory output, the SMMT said. Nevertheless, a growth result over year-ago levels will be viewed by many as particularly encouraging as the auto industry slowly recovers from pandemic impacts. UK car output in July was down by over a fifth on last year.

A report produced for the ‘American Automotive Policy Council’ (AAPC) says that American Automakers FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors are vital to the US economy, driving growth in both manufacturing and job creation.

Electric scooters are emerging strongly from the crisis, as people in urban areas look for alternatives to public transport. This looks like good timing from SEAT. Following the presentation of the new SEAT MO brand last June, created to boost the urban mobility strategy focused on micromobility products and services, the company has rolled out its first motosharing service in Barcelona with a total of 632 eScooters available to the public. SEAT MO website

27 August

UK car manufacturing output was down 20.8% in July with 85,696 units made as factories struggled to ramp up output in the face of slowly recovering global demand. The SMMT said that nearly all UK factories reopened after earlier pandemic shutdowns, but that social distancing measures and ongoing economic uncertainty ‘still stifled output’. 

COVID-19 and its impact on markets appears to have hastened a sourcing shift for Honda. Honda says it plans to transfer some Civic model production from the UK to Japan ahead of the closure of its Swindon plant in southern England in 2021, according to sources in Japan.

26 August

BMW confirms it is cutting around 400 out of 950 agency staff at its Oxford Mini plant in the UK, with the COVID-19 pandemic substantially impacting demand. The move will see Oxford moving from a three-shift pattern to a two-shift one by mid-October (operating five days a week as now), affecting around 400 out of the 950 agency personnel on-site, who are employed by Gi Group. More job cuts – this time BMW employees – are expected.

The US vehicle market is forecast to see August claw-back. “The automotive industry momentum continues in August as the industry claws back more and more new vehicle sales each month since sales bottomed out in April,” said Eric Lyman, Chief Industry Analyst for ALG, a subsidiary of TrueCar. 

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