November '20

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36 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2020 G lobally, COVID-19 continues to put a chokehold on the economy, suffocating small business owners in many industries. Like the large percentage of shop owners nurturing their life's work back to health, those with businesses in the automotive industry continue to pick up the pieces from the immense blow to the gut. According to an article released Sept. 1 on, Weekly Update: COVID-19 Impact On Global Automotive Industry, sales in the U.S. continue to drift, with the pandemic having a pro- longed impact on the country's economy. July PV (profit-volume) sales, though up versus June, are down nearly 19% year-to-date compared to 2019. Fleet sales remain weak as well, with July vol- umes falling by nearly 30% from June. COVID-19 cases continue to spike in key states, including California, Texas and Florida, resulting in curbs on move- ment of residents and strong headwinds for the country's PV sales. All this comes as the industry continues to reel from the effects of earlier lockdowns and shelter- in-place directives that closed thousands of dealerships in March, April and May. The article also states that Counter- point analysts are holding to their earlier forecast for the U.S. economy—a 24% annual decline for 2020, estimated at around 13.4 million units. Dealership lots are looking empty, mimicking the Cash for Clunkers days when auction prices soared as we waited for auto manufacturers to keep up with the sudden shock of demand. The trickle-down effect from the Cash for Clunkers program is similar to what we're experiencing six months into COVID, however, where the lack of inventory is actually a good thing for restylers around the country. BUY IT NOW The once-packed lots of new car deal- erships have withered to the status of limited supply as buyers decline to wait months for a vehicle to arrive with their desired bells and whistles. So, if such options are presented during the time of sale, customers become more inclined to add them. Looking back a little over a decade, the depleted car lots during the Great Reces- sion fed the hungry automotive industry by sparking a demand for employees to tempo- rarily return to manufacturing plants during the poor economy. Today, there's demand, but it's coupled with a global pandemic that's squashing the chances of fulfilling the desired supply in a timely fashion. Now's the time to work with your deal- ership clients to create individual vehicles that satisfy customers' desires. Meanwhile, given the closest comparison to the recent economic turmoil was from that uphill climb from the 2008 market crash, business owners should not only plan to adapt to the potential for chaotic circumstances, but arm themselves against future economic curveballs. An article from CTECH, Five Strategies to Help Small Businesses Adjust to the New Normal of the COVID-19 Era, says small businesses must use this time to evolve. The article states that many businesses are now faced with the choice of either shutting down or adapting, with many of the imple- mented changes likely to be permanent. On the plus side, the agility required to respond to this crisis, as unexpected as it was, can help arm your shop with the skills and strategies needed to remain resilient against whatever comes next. TIME TO GROW? During this pandemic we've been faced with some difficult decisions from all angles, and one of them is growth. Should our company push forward with plans for expansion to a new state? We'd been working on this goal at Top Coverage for over a year prior to the onset of COVID-19. We proceeded with our game plan, but decided to add more layers to our hiring process. The decision was based on the Adapting During Tough Times The agility your business shows now will benefit you down the road. The agility required to respond to this crisis, as unexpected as it was, can help arm your shop with the skills and strategies needed to remain resilient against what- ever comes next. 36 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2020 Coronavirus Update By Courtney Pahlke

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