Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

How Coronavirus is Affecting the Auto Industry

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Image credit: Alex McLenon

Global companies brace for impact as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on communities worldwide.

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The coronavirus is continuing to spread across the globe, causing major disruptions to daily life where outbreaks are present. Stock markets are beginning to tumble, calling into question the global economy’s ability to withstand a pandemic.

They are going to find ways to keep things going for their bread and butter.”  — Reporter Dustin Walsh

Even though COVID-19 has not made its way to Michigan yet, its presence looms large as businesses start to make preparations for the viruses’ potential impact. 

Listen: How should companies be preparing for a potential COVID-19 outbreak in Michigan?


Dustin Walsh covers economic issues for Crain’s Detroit Business and says the spread of the coronavirus is bound to impact global companies’ production and supply chains, especially in the auto industry. Walsh says while there may have to be some adjustments made, ultimately there is a way to get around receiving parts from impacted areas that are experiencing production halts. On the major auto companies’ production of trucks, Walsh says, “They are going to find ways to keep things going for their bread and butter.”

Walsh insists the spread of COVID-19 will have strong economic impacts, but perhaps not as long as some are forecasting. “This is not going to be as a bad as the recession of 2008, there will be a rebound on the back end,” says Walsh.

Sherri Welcha senior reporter covering Detroit Philanthropy, nonprofits and arts & culture for Crain’s Detroit Business, says the novel coronavirus has tested companies’ preparedness for such an outbreak. Office cleanliness, succession planning and compensation practices are all things that companies, especially those that are small to mid-sized, need to be thinking about, says Welch. Pointing to the importance of expert resources, Welch says, “The American Society of Employers have a [sample] business continuity plan” adding also that, “the CDC has interim recommendations for employers.” 

Further Reading:

Pandemic readiness moves front and center for employers

As coronavirus hits auto supply chain, question looms: Who pays for pricey freight?

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Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


This post is a part of Coronavirus in Michigan.

101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station, is committed to providing accurate, up-to-date information on coronavirus, and it's related illness COVID-19, in Michigan. 

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