Moving forward

We are in for the long haul with this enhanced community quarantine. And many experts are predicting that social distancing and restrictions will become the new normal.

This is expected to affect businesses and jobs in many industries including automobile manufacturing and distribution.

Already, automobile factories in many parts of the world have stopped production as a result of borders being closed, plants producing auto parts shut down, and supply chains cut as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Serious questions are now being asked. How long will the pandemic last? How can the auto industry survive the effects of the pandemic on the world economy? What about the many sectors of the economy that support and in turn are dependent on a productive and profitable auto industry?

Perhaps, we can take heart from the remarks of Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation and chairman of the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association during a press conference held with other leaders of three other industry associations — the Japan Auto Parts Industries Association, the Japan Auto-Body Industries Association, and the Japan Automotive Machinery and Tool Manufacturers Association.

According to the Toyota Times, an official TMCnews website, the overarching theme of the press conference was “how to face the Covid-19 pandemic as an automotive industry.”

Below are parts of Akio Toyoda’s remarks at the press conference:

“Before I was born, there are stories from the post-war era about how Toyota had lost people and factories. Regardless, the company somehow survived by choosing to produce whatever needed to be produced.

“Among the products we made were things like frying pans and pots, and we cultivated the wasteland around the factories to be able to produce potatoes and barley.

“I’ve heard that Subaru also made all types of lifestyle products, including things like agricultural equipment, carriages for babies, sewing machines and even clippers for barbers.

“For dealers that didn’t have cars to sell, they also did what they could, selling tableware, etc., and other things that are considered necessary for life, selling them from person to person.

“As an industry, I believe we have the tenacious DNA that will help us to survive, so we should do all we can to survive!”

One can read from Akio Toyoda’s remarks that Toyota is and will be doing what many other carmakers and other industries are already doing amidst the pandemic, reallocating resources and processes to make other vital products.

Akio Toyoda also stressed the importance of continuing to work with its partners in investing in technology and innovations for making automobiles of the future.

Said he at the conference:

“Now, a situation where cars cannot be sold around the world continues, and because of that situation, there are some plants where operations have had to be stopped.

“If this continues, we may face a situation where some of our ‘friends’ or partners may not be able to continue operation.

“However, amidst this situation, looking to the future, the underlying technology cannot be lost, and there are people with expertise that no machines can ever copy.

“If these resources are leaked or cut off, the future we envision will grow more distant many years ahead.

“Before it is too late, we need work in a timely manner to tie these vision to new capital. To do that, we need the power of ‘mekiki,’ an eye for identifying the crucial elements that the automotive industry should keep and maintain during the most challenging, unstable times.

“This skill, I believe, is only possessed by the associations here today, who understand monozukuri. I hope we can consider a fund that combines both our mekiki and the capital you wish to invest in the future of automobiles together.”

Roadside Assistance

People are discouraged to move around these Covid-19 days.

Travelling out of homes should only be for vital needs. Still, road accidents, breakdowns, and emergencies can never be discounted, so offers of 24/7 Emergency Roadside Assistance (ERA) should never be downplayed.

Two car distributors are extending these services to patrons.

Volkswagen said VW vehicles purchased from December 1, 2015 onwards are automatically enrolled to the 24-hour ERA during the entire period of enhanced community quarantine, plus an extended 30 days after the national government officially lifts stay-at-home order.

These ERA services include: towing, vehicle recovery, fuel delivery, battery jumpstart, lock-out, flat-tire. Aside from these, VW also offers to provide relay of urgent messages; coordinating with government agencies  for needed assistance in accident; ambulance coordination; helping with arrangements for hospital admission.

Also offering 24/7 emergency services during ther ECQ and beyond is Kia Philippines. These services include: emergency towing, minor onsite repair, personal assistance, medical assistance, information service.

Kia said that to avail themselves of the 24/7 Emergency Roadside Assistance, customers must answer an online form that will be posted at Kia Philippines Facebook page. They can also take advantage of the service by contacting their nearest authorized dealership after the quarantine period.

Google Free Rides

Frontline health workers and hospital staffers can now use the Google map to find out how they can best use the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) Free Rides for Health Workers service

The DOTr said mobile phones, desktop, or a tablet computer can be used to launch Google Maps to get recommendations for the best routes to take going to destinations being served by the DOTr’s free shuttles.

To use Google Maps:

1. Launch Google Maps via app or web. 

2. Enter your intended destination. 

3. Tap “Directions”. 

4. Select the public transit tab. This is the train icon which comes after car and motorcycle icons. 

5. Maps will immediately pull up a recommended route which uses the DOTr’s hospital shuttle routes, when available.

Happy Motoring!!!

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