Detroit Regional Chamber > John McElroy: Automotive Industry Facing Severe COVID-19 Impact

John McElroy: Automotive Industry Facing Severe COVID-19 Impact

April 17, 2020

In today’s Tele-Town Hall, “Autoline” Host John McElroy spoke on the unprecedented collapse of the global economy, which happened in only a matter of weeks. With all of the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers burning through cash, there is a critical need for revenue to return.  Even that may not be enough without governments across the globe stepping in with a “financial defibrillator to get the heart beating again,” said McElroy.

Complications include:

  • Plants must get back up to speed across the global supply chain
  • Implementation of new procedures for social distancing and personal protection equipment (PPE)
  • Limited cash flow and getting consumers to return to buying mode while dealer inventories grow

In the short term, the automotive industry should expect to see trends toward nationalism and self-sufficiency. Plans for automation will resume pace, but without a major influx, since people are still the most efficient model when it comes to working the assembly line.  And virtual product reveals and sales will likely become one of the lasting trends from this crisis.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Detroit’s automotive industry has stepped up to create new manufacturing processes on products they had never made before while engaging supplier support.

There is no question about the resilience of company leaders, their optimism, enthusiasm, and thoroughness. But, McElroy cautions, we are going to need massive help and stimulus from the government to overcome an impending U-shaped recovery curve.