There’s no more room for doubt – the auto industry is being seriously impacted and shaped by the spread of the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus disease). As we learn of new developments every day, there are quite a few unknowns in terms of what this means for auto production and sales in coming weeks and months.
“You haven’t seen a total shutdown of the supply chain,” Jason Caporrino, COO of ACERTUS, told JOC.com. “What we see is general market disruption. A lot of things in the supply chain have simply stopped or needed to pivot while in transit. We’re seeing a lot of eleventh-hour needs emerge for storage, and for alternative destinations.”
But, while the automotive industry continues to prepare for more inevitable challenges, there are also some online auto-sales opportunities that have developed as a result of the virus spread.
A recent sequence of coronavirus-related mandates has resulted in plant closures, a decrease in both new-vehicle deliveries and foot traffic and an uptick in the amount of people searching for cars online. Here is a quick breakdown of what we’ve seen thus far:
- Plant closures: Major auto production has been deeply affected by manufacturing plant closures. Most recently, in the US, the Big Three – Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler – struck a deal with UAW to temporarily close US plants. Shortly thereafter, US plants for Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Hyundai decided to shut their doors. Production has also come to a halt in Europe and the UK with Ford, VW and Nissan closing their plants. China’s plants have been extremely hard hit in recent months, with many of those plants just beginning to reopen. OEMs have inventory they need to divert, particularly as many fleets and dealers have either closed or run out of space.
- New vehicle traffic and dealer foot traffic are both down: All of these halts in production have caused a significant delay in the number of new vehicles coming to market. Because both business and leisure travel cancellations have become necessary, car rentals are also down significantly and there isn’t enough room for many of these vehicles on lots, leaving rental companies unsure of how best to proceed. At the same time, due to concerns about the spread of virus and CDC recommendations to “social distance” – as well as varying levels of business closures in regions across the country – foot traffic at dealerships has been largely slowing down, as well. This means a large number of vehicles aren’t moving off dealers’ or rental companies’ lots.
- Online sales could benefit: While foot traffic is down, online car sales appear to be moving. In recent weeks, dealers in China have embraced the internet as one of the best methods to reach potential customers. Many home-quarantined customers have been searching on how to best purchase a car online, and Kelly Blue Book even published an article titled “Can I Buy a Car Online to Reduce Coronavirus Exposure?” Now could be the perfect time for US companies to expand their online offerings.
How an auto logistics provider can help: As consumers are increasingly staying at home and handling their shopping online, the opportunity for online auto sales will grow. This provides a unique opportunity for dealers and auction companies– especially if they expand their potential sales area to be across a wider region or nationwide. Tech-enabled logistics providers like ACERTUS can utilize a strong carrier network, transporting cars easily and efficiently across state lines and mitigating any risks along the way.
Additionally, companies like ACERTUS provide storage solutions, so OEMs, dealers, auctions and rental companies can temporarily store vehicles and, therefore, alleviate strain on their businesses. Eventually, as consumer demands grow, companies can utilize such storage services to reallocate vehicles into different areas of the country – wherever the need is greatest. This keeps inventory moving.
Home delivery is also on the table: As a financially stable company that has 55 storage locations and works with a wide variety of drive-away drivers across the country, ACERTUS also offers last mile-delivery options. With this type of delivery, the vehicle is taken directly to a customer’s home, fully detailed and with a full tank of gas – a particularly viable choice for online customers currently heeding warnings to stay in their homes.
With such online shopping-and-delivery options, customers can feel confident in their auto purchases, while still receiving impressive service, right at their doors.
Learn more about ACERTUS’ complete solutions for auto logistics and services, visit https://acertusdelivers.com. To connect with one of our team members, contact us here or call us at 855-ACERTUS (855-223-7887).