Since the start of containment in mid-March, car production lines have been shut down and dealerships closed. As June approaches, some plants are starting to return to service. This did not prevent the weeks of extinction that preceded the vulnerability of the traditional automotive market. This is evidenced by figures from the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers, which show a 55.1% drop in registrations in Europe in March 2020. In addition, garages, convenience stores and technical service centres are also on the front line. If they can partially continue to work, it is not without difficulty. As a result, car companies are slowing down. The ones that are still running are the minimum automotive services to be maintained during containment, such as garages or technical control. To cushion the painful drop in sales, however, solutions are possible, often carried by Digital.
Car companies in slow motion
In this context, the automotive industry in Bordeaux is no exception.
The Getrad Fort plant in Blanquefort closed for about ten days. A gradual recovery in small numbers took place from the end of March. Thus the company, which usually has 1100 employees, runs with about 100 people on site, in accordance with legal restrictions.
On the sales side, all car dealerships are closed equally. The Parot Group, a local figure in the Bordeaux business, announced in mid-March the closure of all its physical sales outlets. However, it specified the introduction of a telephone number for the after-sales services of the Fiat, Ford, Alpha Romeo, Mazda and Jeep brands (05.33.52.00.93).
Craftsmen in the automotive sector also face difficulties. However, as part of the authorized services, professionals such as garages, convenience stores and technical control centres are experiencing this crisis. According to the FNA, 67% of these companies had to close their doors For the vast majority, they lacked either customers or necessary parts. As a result, the sector’s turnover is melting away with -79.9% in March and 74% of employees who are partially unemployed.
Minimum automotive services provided during containment
During this period, a smaller proportion of automotive services remain open to ensure a minimum service. Of course, all these companies are required to respect good practices to fight the virus and protect their employees. These include car repair, troubleshooting and towing, bodywork and technical control companies. For car repair, 42% continue to work, of which only 20% for the emergency service. In order to allow users to know the open centres and the conditions, the CNPA has updated its directories of garages. It now indicates the professionals who greets the public during the confinement.
In terms of troubleshooting, there are more companies still in operation, due to the urgency of their interventions. Thus, 31% continue their partial activity. In addition, 37% of professionals have even put in place on-call to provide the emergency service. Less subject to emergency, technical control centres are only 12.5% to maintain partial activity.
Among the companies traditionally open to the public, concessions are the most violently impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. Following the official announcement of the ban on the sale of vehicles (services considered non-essential), their activities are at a complete halt. Only emergency numbers for after-sales services are eventually available.
Digital to maintain automotive sales activity
As the legal framework is what it is, there is no need to hope to find an open car salesman during confinement. Still, there are ways to buy a car if you really need it.
Not new to the market but still active during the crisis, online platforms for car sales, such as Aramis Auto or IES Auto, can meet these demands. In the Bordeaux region, Oxylio, based in Cestas, has an online catalogue of vehicles. This allows customers to learn about available cars. For business, the team can be reached by phone and email “in order to advance your automotive project without your presence being necessary”.
However, many of these solutions do not guarantee that you will be able to purchase the vehicle before the end of the lockdown. For this, only professionals who absolutely need it can benefit from a delivery. By “need,” the law means that your vehicle is essential for you to ensure the fight against the covid-19 or the national economic effort. In which case, you will be asked for a certificate so that a vehicle can be issued to you.
Struck by the crisis caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, a reflection is needed among professionals in the sector. What if it’s time to think about preparing for the next? Some players are already proposing to book vehicle tests. Digital and online sales offer many opportunities…
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