Post-virus shadows frighten the sector
Global efforts are needed in order to deal with the threatening emergency caused by the spread of the coronavirus, followed by significant gestures, as in great moments of history. Italian automotive manufacturers, for their part, though severely tested by this global calamity, have decided to draw up a text of great interest. They did so through Anfia, the National Association of the Automotive Industrial Supply Chain, and jointly decided to distribute a manifesto representing the Italian automotive chain, precisely in relation to the Covid-19 emergency.
"To all the actors in the productive system, represented by the Association – reads the manifesto -goes Anfia’s invitation to resist and intensify the efforts to preserve the international competitiveness of a leading sector in the Italian economic scenario". Anfia's gratitude goes also "to the workers and employees of these companies, who are working in compliance with the extraordinary measures, in smart working or in the factories, making it possible to keep the production plants and other company functions in operation".
A brief thought goes out towards other figures too: "Our thanks go out also to the trade unions, for their flexibility in accepting these working conditions, aware that we are all faced with an unprecedented situation. Finally, thanks to the Government for the rather difficult, if not unpopular, decisions to safeguard public health and, at the same time, guarantee a future for the country once the critical moment will be over".
Is it all gloomy? Not quite. A few positive figures were published by the Aftermarket Barometer, a statistical survey carried out within Anfia, which highlights how the sector’s turnover recorded a 1.6% increase in 2019 compared to the previous year, which closed at +0.8%. A first quarter up slightly (+1.2%) was followed by a negative second quarter (-2.4%), while the second part of the year saw a recovery: +4.1% in the third quarter and +3.7% in the fourth quarter of 2019, thanks, above all, to an outstanding performance in December (+10.2%). Looking at the performance of each product family, though only two out of five show a positive trend.
The biggest increase was recorded by consumables (+9.2%), which had already increased in 2018 (+3.3%), followed by an increase in electrical and electronic components (+2.2%), which closed 2018 at +5.6%. On the other hand, bodywork and interior components (-4%) and undercar components (-4.9%), saw a trend reversal as 2018 closed with positive figures (+14.5% and +1.8% respectively).
Engine components also retained the minus sign (-5.6%), albeit with a smaller decrease compared to 2018 (when it closed at -7.9%).
In February, the negative trend in the demand for trucks with GVW up to 3.5t, which started in November, is quite steady if not on the rise. In February 2020, in fact, according to estimates developed and distributed by the Unrae Study and Statistics Centre, only 14,517 new commercial vehicles were registered, with a loss of 4.9% compared to February 2019, when 15,262 units were sold. The first two months of 2020, therefore, scored 27,759 registrations compared to 28,801 in the same period last year, down by 3.6%.
"February figures bear witness to a market for commercial vehicles already in decline due to a stagnating Italian economy - said Unrae’s President, Michele Crisci – and here is where the Covid-19 emergency, a new "Black Swan" for the global economy, comes into play, triggering a recession in our country that will need time to be absorbed".
"The necessary and needed severe restrictions on citizens' mobility, the almost total closure of retail activities and the reduced production capacity of our manufacturing sector - he continued - will combine with a strong negative impact on the demand for commercial vehicles. In fact, the restrictive measures will zero sales and purchases for an indefinitely lasting period. The subsequent recovery and the final result of the year will depend on the duration and severity of the pandemic and the associated emergency measures, as well as the extent, timing and complexity of the measures adopted to support families, workers and businesses by public institutions, both during and after the emergency".