On the 11th of March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Coronavirus- also known as COVID 19- a pandemic. A pandemic has been defined by the World Health Organisation as “the worldwide spread of a new disease”. Apart from health, the pandemic has had serious consequences on business, and especially in the automotive industry worldwide.
What is COVID-19 or Coronavirus?
The Coronavirus, aka COVID19, is a virus believed to have been transmitted from animals to man, which is referred to as “zoonotic” in technical terms. Symptoms of the Coronavirus could be easily mistaken for those of the common cold but this can take on more severe forms as respiratory and organ failure. As at the time of writing this article, there is currently no identified cure for the virus.
Novel Coronavirus Origin
It is unclear how or who was the first to contract the Coronavirus, the outbreak of the Coronavirus can be traced to the Wuhan province in China. Ever since its discovery, the virus has spread to almost all countries in every part of the world, with Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, and Nigeria, experiencing some of the worst incidences
Novel Coronavirus Symptom
The person infected by the Coronavirus would usually exhibit such symptoms as dry cough, fever, shortness of breath. In critical cases, it could lead to pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and possibly death.
Symptoms Covid 19 can present after infection
This is one virus that should not be messed with and it is why medical professionals recommend that people observe quality hygiene. Some of the ways to do that include washing the hands, avoiding close contact with people with cough and cold, and covering the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
How Coronavirus is Affecting Automakers
1. Automakers in South Korea affected by Coronavirus pandemic
Due to the virulent nature of the Coronavirus and the ease with which it can be contracted, work and productivity have been affected globally. In the auto-world, it has largely been a case of factory shutdowns in terms of the production of cars.
Hyundai, the fifth-largest carmaker in the world, which is based in South Korea, has had to temporarily halt operations. This became necessary after the country grappled with a high number of infected people - 8,565- with 91 dead as at the time of this article. It was also reported that an employee of the company was infected by the virus.
2. Automakers in China affected by Coronavirus pandemic
China also experienced a major monthly decline in car sales by 79.1% due to Coronavirus related loss of productivity. It would be recalled that a large outbreak of the virus was traced back to the city of Wuhan in the Hubei province of China. Although it has been disputed in certain corners that China is the place the Virus emanated from. The Jaguar Land Rover also suffered an 85% deficit in sales as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.
3. Automakers in Europe affected by Coronavirus pandemic
European Automakers have also been hit hard by Coronavirus. Along with facing plunges in car sales, the industry also has had to deal with the air travel ban placed on them by the United States of America. Only the United Kingdom was spared this restriction.
The United Kingdom’s biggest car plant owned by Nissan has also had to halt operations to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Volkswagen, the world’s largest carmaker is not excluded, as it has had to suspend all its European operations. It is impossible to say when the makers of the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini brands will resume operations but let’s just hope it is not long.
Major car brands all over the world have halted production
BMW also had its share price decline and recorded low car sales as it had to deal with the coronavirus by shutting down its plants. Fiat Chrysler, PSA group- owners of Peugeot and Citroen- Renault have also had to take similar actions.
4. Automakers in the USA affected by Coronavirus pandemic
The automobile sector in the United States of America did try to forge on with car production but had to ultimately halt production over Coronavirus fears. Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler have all had to shut down their operations to forestall the further spread of the virus.
Tesla seems to have been strongarmed by local public officials into temporarily halting production from the 23rd of March 2020. The company initially refused to halt operations stating that it was “national critical infrastructure”- a well-thought-out name if you ask me. The CEO of the company also drew public criticism for trying to downplay the seriousness of the virus. An NBC news report suggests that the United States will lose about $7.3billion for every week cars are not purchased.
In fact, in states like New York and California where 'stay-at-home-orders' are in full force, sales in automobile companies like Cox Automotive fell by as much as 80%! It is such a trying time for the automobile business at this time.
Elon Musk was forced to shut down operations (Photo Credit: TeslaMotors.com)
5. Automakers in Africa affected by Coronavirus pandemic
Africa - beginning to experience the effects of the coronavirus as the numbers are steadily growing - will also feel the impact of the coronavirus in its automotive industry, as a large amount of spare parts comes from the Hubei province in China, which was the epicenter of the virus. China is also Africa’s largest trading partner. The Nigerian automotive industry has been especially affected,
In Nigeria, some states like Lagos and Abuja have declared a total lockdown. Movement of people and goods are at a standstill. But some other states, have been hit minimally.
It is however interesting to note that Nigeria's foremost indigenous car maker, Innoson motors have announced that some of its assembly lines could be converted to produce ventilators. This is a good step towards the eradication of the virus, however, it means that car production is also halted for now.
>>> Cheer up folks! It's not the end of the world. See 5 top tips to buy a car safely during the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria
Controlling the spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria
Some of the ways to do that include: the washing of hands, the use of hand sanitizers, face masks, avoiding close contact with people during this period, prompt reporting of anyone symptoms like cough and cold, covering the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
See this video about dispelling Covid 19 myths:
Video: Dispel the following myths about COVID-19!
The outbreak of a virus is one that calls for a joint fight. It is therefore disheartening that a number of people are still saying that COVID-19 is a scam. Some are even aware but choose to go about their normal duties as if nothing happened.
My Naija people, this thing is not a joke!
Please, stay at home
It shouldn’t be a time to spread fear or panic, so we join our voices to advise that you practice good hygiene, practice social distancing, and follow all rules of the public health officials. Together we can and we will beat this virus. Stay safe everyone and most importantly, please STAY AT HOME!
Find out about other things you need to know about coronavirus in Nigeria and its effect on car users now!
>>> Stay up to date with COVID-19 related Auto News!