The COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc in almost all sectors of the economy and has affected countless employees, as well as companies— large and small. Even the biggest giants in the car industry such as Ford have not escaped from the turmoil brought about by the pandemic. The tough blow Ford has suffered has resulted in a ripple effect, affecting other sectors within the industry, including Ford battery suppliers. The manufacturer had planned to unveil and begin production on many new Ford car battery and vehicle technological developments early this year, but have faced delays since the pandemic struck.
But now, the auto industry faces an even bigger problem – the huge surge in unemployment.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) conducted a survey during the first half of the year, which revealed that 13,000 jobs had already been lost. Not only that, but as many as one in every six jobs are still at risk.
In line with this, SMMT CEO Mike Hawes has called for the government to provide assistance to the hard-hit industry.
“We urgently need the government to expand its strategy and introduce sector-specific measures for UK auto to support cash flow such as business rate holidays, tax cuts, and policies that provide broader support for consumer confidence and boost the big-ticket spending that drives manufacturing”, The Independent newspaper quoted him as saying.
Ford of Britain’s managing director, Andy Barratt, echoed the same sentiments as SMMT’s chief executive — seeking the government’s involvement in order for the car industry to recover.
And the UK government appears to have heard Ford’s plea. As recently as July, the government granted Ford a £500 million loan to support the latter’s export activities. UK Export Finance (UKEF) has high confidence in the industry, saying that it is thriving and vital to the success of the UK’s economy.
The loan appears to come at a perfect time as the SMMT recorded an 11 per cent rise in car sales in the same month. This is the first month that car sales have experienced a growth in numbers since the start of 2020.
While this may indicate that we are already seeing light at the end of the tunnel, Barratt still urges the government to give further assistance by providing other incentive packages. In a statement quoted by Motor Trader magazine, he said, “I think that there will be reasonable demand through September when the registration plate changes, but without government intervention, this sector won’t recover until at least the middle of next year”.
All in all, it looks like with the continued participation of all stakeholders, including the UK government, the industry stands a chance of bouncing back.
With promising increases in car sales and Ford’s recently acquired funding, the automotive mammoth is already beginning to recover. Its partners and suppliers are also seeing great opportunities for developing and enhancing their offerings.
Its Ford car battery suppliers, for example, are looking at improved reserve capacities, maintenance, battery life, and more competitive pricing to keep up with the manufacturer’s evolving innovations.
They are also exploring plenty of different ways on how to better serve clients in the “new normal” brought about by the pandemic and stepping up the quality of their services.
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