Like many industries, the automotive sector is also subject to containment. Second time since the beginning of 2020 that this has happened. The first time, the containment was strict, and only a few businesses could work “normally”. Many other sectors, on the other hand, were not allowed to open, deemed “non-essential”. The FNA (National Federation of Automobile Crafts) is closely monitoring the Government’s announcements, as the period is not conducive to market development. For, in fact, the population of the whole territory must remain at home, except for a few well-defined exceptions.
“Essential” automotive activities, not affected by containment
The Speech of the Head of State of 28 October is clear, and direct. The whole of France must reconfine,for a minimum of four weeks, from 30 October to 1 December 2020. This is in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, which is increasing in its day-to-day presence. Many rules are back, common with that of the first containment in March. But some measures are relaxed. Some shops, closed in March, can open and operate. Others, such as some automotive activities, which were allowed to work in March, continue during this month of confinement.
Indeed, the car is thework tool of some trades, and in case of breakdown, requires repairs. Repairs that only automotive professionals can bring. Thus, the shops of automotive equipment, repair of motorcycles and cycles, gas stations … But also motor vehicle rental services and technical control centres remain open.
The automotive professionals concerned by these services remain optimistic. The dealers too. Indeed, they are also part of the open shops, and can continue to sell. In order to enable them to maintain a level of activity almost similar to that pre-containment, the Government is adapting the measures. Indeed, the implementation of the click-and-collect allows a customer to buy his car, without moving in dealership. It can then safely remove it and enjoy a service identical to that of a conventional withdrawal. An appointment made specifically, to avoid an influx of people at the same point of sale. It is a way of being able to continue to sustain certain sectors, without breaking the respect of the barrier gestures and the rules imposed by confinement.
A key sector of the national economy that “rolls”
The automotive industry represents an important part of the French economy, as does aeronautics. In the Bordeaux region, the Ford car manufacturing plant, based in Blanquefort, closes in October 2019. It was one of the symbols of the new Aquitaine car industry, which employed 850 people. The automobile also involves other types of vehicles, such as agricultural machinery, buses, and “heavy goods” vehicles. In New Aquitaine, for example, this concerns the Heuliez Bus plant, located in Mauleon. This is a company that builds many buses in circulation on France, and outside. A benchmark of the automotive sector, which should not suffer from the containment announced by the Government.
The sector therefore does not seem ready to stop its route, driven by support from the Government and its importance, especially for the transport professions… But also for all people who continue to use their vehicle to get to their workplace, in the absence of telework possible.