The Effect of the Lockdown on our cars and the Automotive Aftermarket Industry

How the aftermarket is feeling the Impact of the Lockdown and Is it positive? How can we maintain our cars and what is going to change?

While we are staying at home quarantining, our cars remain parked, which inevitably affects their performance. Traffic declined by 80 percent in most cities during the “Stay at home” regime and a typical car is only in use 1% of the time. This means that our cars are idle around 97% of the time during the pandemic and we all know long periods without operation are not good for the engine.

A good rule of thumb is to never let a vehicle sit unused for more than a month without running it for at least 10 minutes. Most experts recommend driving it at least once every two weeks.  This is good for the oil and the cooling system, but most of all it will protect your battery. Failure to do so can result in a whole host of costly problems. But for computers in modern cars, it is not good practice to leave them without energy for a long time as their battery can die within two weeks. That’s mainly because it’s still powering your car’s alarm system, climate control, computer systems, and any other electrical features it has onboard (especially or hybrid cars). However, many experts say that there is no risk of the handbrake to stick to the disc pads with the new electronic parking brakes.

Suddenly, buying a new vehicle is not a priority for many consumers, who are instead relying on their trusty vehicles to get around. But these vehicles will still need servicing. Therefore, a scenario where service and repair will become more important to the automotive industry, especially in the next few months, is highly probable. This offers the repair and servicing market a boost, as these vehicles come in for part replacement and general checks. There’s a good chance, therefore, that the aftermarket may become one of the more robust areas in the automotive industry.

“Our sector plays a vital role in people’s mobility and therefore it is important that suppliers, motor factors and garages can continue to ensure vehicles are as safe as possible when on the road. We are therefore very thankful that the sector will be able to continue to operate, as it will enable garages to service and carry out essential repair and maintenance work.”

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive

With the inability to effectively maintain social distancing on buses and trains, many will look to drive to work, increasing the stress and strain on vehicles and therefore making them more likely to require servicing and repairs in the coming months.

Although dealerships in Europe closed during the lockdown, workshops were allowed to remain open, as the repair sector was designated a key industry. With government advice stating that workers should avoid public transport when returning to work, the use of private cars is likely to rise more sharply than it already has over recent weeks. It is timely that the aftermarket can assure customers and colleagues that it is ready to safely ensure that workers’ vehicles will remain roadworthy.

And as the IAAF assured us, there will inevitably be an introduction of products and services to maintain safety while continuing to operate, such as vehicle sanitiser kits that can be used before and after a vehicle is brought into a workshop. Collection services, whereby garages have offered to pick up and drop off a vehicle to customers who are unable to leave their homes, will continue to operate. And motor factors, suppliers, and distributors can remain open to offer ‘click and collect’ services only, enabling a safe and secure distribution of parts.

All of these factors point to the need for aftermarket parts, tools, and accessories providers to increase the availability of their products on ecommerce channels like marketplaces and their websites, to guarantee the flow of products to workshop and garage staff – and consumers – buying directly.

If you want to grow your online aftermarket presence or for a no-obligation introductory discussion, please contact us.

To read about how COVID-19 and Brexit are affecting the Automotive market, click here.

 

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