The Coronavirus and the car industry
With the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak occurring internationally and now, many are saying that it will have dire, long-term economic effects.
Former Ford CEO on how Coronavirus outbreak affects auto industry
And with the World Health Declaration’s recent declaration of Covid-19’s status as a global pandemic, presents a lot of worrisome possibilities for both car manufacturers and especially their consumers.
So, this begs the question; how can the spread of the Covid-19 virus affect car buyers and the car industry in general?
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How serious is it?
Can I get infected if I buy a Chinese made car or a model with Chinese made parts?
For the short answer: No.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Health (DOH), the lifespan of viruses, including the dreaded Covid-19, is measured in hours when they’re resting on metal surfaces like steel, copper, and aluminum.
On other, softer materials that can hold moisture, it might be longer. The usual transport time from a factory to a local dealership here in the Philippines however typically months. A virus, after all, needs a host to live.
Imported cars are usually transported by sea and that takes a long time
Is it possible to avoid cars with parts made in China?
Most car models released here in the Philippines, regardless of where it was assembled, will most likely be using parts made in China. China, after all, is a manufacturing powerhouse and few can beat their cheap labor costs.
As such, in these days where the economic engine is already bordering on absolutely free trade, we’d have to say that avoiding a car model that uses Chinese made parts is next to impossible.
Major car manufacturers like Honda has a plant located in Wuhan
Even the handful of models fully assembled in Japan and sold by Japanese car manufacturers are using China-sourced parts.
Effects of the outbreak on parts manufacturing and logistics
There’s certainly a world shortage on parts right now but as of this moment, its too early to know all of the car models that are affected and to what degree.
What we know so far however is Hyundai who had shut down several facilities in South Korea. A country which, as of March 11, has a total of 7,755 confirmed cases.
Another is the Jeep Wrangler, which despite made in Ohio requires several parts from Wuhan itself.
Regardless of re-opening, the global car industry, most especially China has already taken a massive hit
This pandemic as you might already know started in Wuhan. The capital of Hubei province in central China. It’s also one of China’s largest hubs for many industries including manufacturing automotive parts and automotive assembly.
Since January, the said province is in lockdown and many factories have been temporarily closed.
As of the writing of this article however, many facilities are already starting to reopen in some selected areas so a “broken” supply chain might not affect a customer needing spare parts anytime soon.
The same goes for actual models from China available here in the Philippines.
I’m planning to visit a dealership soon but I’m worried about being infected
When you go out car shopping, many health organizations are recommending to maintain your personal space (just like you should anywhere you go nowadays).
That means no handshaking, kissing, hugging, etc. Also, it’s a good habit to bring a bottle of hand sanitizer with you. Or better yet, making regular trips to the bathroom to wash your hands with soap and water.
Follow strictly all the steps to prevent Coronavirus spreads
When buying a car, however, one can seldom resist touching a car model’s parts and sitting in the display units itself. And we all know that display units regularly come in contact with hundreds of people daily.
To address this, we recommend you to avoid touching your face after interacting with a display unit. Wash your hands first.
If you’re still worried, then you can learn more about currently available car models in the Philippines from the comfort of your home by using our review section, and how much they cost from our price-list section.
Also, Subaru PH is now offering to deliver a test drive unit to your address. Very convenient!
The domestic automotive industry is suffering
Fewer sales from imported cars
According to the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors Inc. (AVID), they’re not particularly doing well this year. They only sold 5,433 units which are a 16 percent decline from the 6,482 figure they reported last year.
Of course, we, along with AVID president Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo attributes this to supply chain disruptions and low automotive demand brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak, as well as the Taal volcano eruption a couple of months ago.
Canceled car events
If you’re the hip car enthusiast who actively seeks car events and car shows, then we’re certain that this Covid-19 outbreak is a great annoyance.
The 2020 Manila International Auto Show postponed and the supposedly grand launch of the Mitsubishi Xpander Cross were canceled after all.
As such, we can expect more upcoming major events to be affected one way or another. To this end, keep yourself posted by regularly visiting Philkotse.com for updates on this.
Cesar G.B. Miguel