The massive global effects of the coronavirus pandemic have had an equally seismic impact on the car industry.
As lockdowns were put in place across the globe to tackle the spread of the virus, production halted as factories were shut, while the closure of dealerships caused new cars sales to plummet. The financial values of every car firm have taken a major hit, while most major motoring and motorsport events have been cancelled.
This is Autocar’s rolling round-up of how the car world is being impacted, and its recovery as lockdown restrictions slowly ease. It will be updated regularly with information and links to more in-depth stories.
Friday 3 July: DVSA issues guidance for driving test examiners
● Learner drivers will be allowed to resume driving lessons from Saturday (4 July) in preparation for their practical exam, which can now be booked from 22 July onwards.
New procedures for examiners and instructors have now been outlined. In order to minimise social contact, test centre waiting rooms will be out of action, appointment times will be staggered and all exterior and interior touch points will be disinfected between lessons and tests. Masks and gloves are also expected to be worn at all times while in the car, and students must declare whether they have recently demonstrated symptoms.
Thursday 25 June: Driving lessons to resume in England in July
● Driving lessons will be allowed to resume in England from 4 July onwards, the government has confirmed. Lessons were suspended as part of the coronavirus lockdown measures introduced in March, but there had been growing concern from instructors that no timeline has been outlined for them to return as restrictions were each.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader House of Commons, has said that lessons will be able to resume early next month. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will shortly write to driving instructors to set out plans for how to restart lessons and tests safely.
Rees-Mogg said the government wanted to assist instructors in "a return to life that is as close to normal as possible", and added there would be a "phased approach to resuming practical testing." Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set their own rules for driving lessons and tests.
● The Commission on Climate Change (CCC), an independent government advisory group, has called on the UK government to increase car tax as part of steps to help reduce carbon emissions. The group believes the tax hike should be introduced shortly because the impact will be mitigated by the reduced cost of fuel due to falling demand in the recent lockdown. Read the full story here.
Wednesday 24 June: Fiat Chrysler secures £5.7bn loan
● Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has secured a £5.7bn credit line backed by the Italian government to help it recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Read the full story here.
Tuesday 23 June: SMMT issues bleak car industry job warning, McLaren takes legal action to secure funding
● One in six jobs in the UK automotive industry are at risk due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The industry bosy has called on the government to offer a 'restart' package to help the industry recover by boosting demand and increasing cashflow. Read the full story here.
● McLaren has taken legal action against a group of creditors in order to allow it to go ahead with an "urgent" round of refinancing that it says is needed to overcome the "severe" financial impact of the coronavirus crisis. Read the full story here.