ACT’s Vieth speaks on impact of production shutdowns, restarts

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This month’s ACT Research Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest tackles decisions made in the North American commercial vehicle market to shutdown production lines due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and the impact those shutdown efforts and future corresponding restart efforts will have on the economy.

Speaking on the topic, ACT President and Senior Analyst Kenny Vieth says: “There has been a level of incrementalism to date in shutdown announcements by state and manufacturing entities, and generally speaking, to date we have seen one and two-week extensions to the initial timing of planned shutdowns, with many ‘playing this by ear.’ The immediate challenge, of course, is saving lives, but the next challenge is saving livelihoods, as the globe does not have the luxury of waiting a year or two for a vaccine to be developed before the solution itself becomes the cause that risks lives.”

Vieth says restarting the economy will need to be done with many layers of safety and testing protocols in place throughout an already complex supply chain, from the lowest to highest tiers and throughout the logistics and warehousing components — not just for new builds, but also for the aftermarket side of the business.

“It is one thing for the automotive/commercial/off-road industries to get supply chains up and running, it is another entirely to get buyers to market when the economy has so recently cratered and going outside poses an existential risk,” says Vieth.

“In a nutshell, the extent of the damage to the U.S. economy will be directly proportional to the time it takes to bring the virus under control and, although no one really knows, with new COVID cases starting to level and vaccine trials underway, we hope that the herculean efforts of the past month or so have made a difference and life as we knew it can begin to return as the situation is de-risked.”

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