With North America’s automakers halting production because of the crippling COVID-19 pandemic, many of their suppliers have been forced to follow suit. In response, the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association — the trade group for U.S. auto suppliers — asked congressional leaders last week to create a grant program to help prevent bankruptcies resulting from shutdowns.
Many major suppliers have already begun winding down to prepare for the worst — among them, Continental, Bosch and Delphi Technologies.
Several other suppliers declined to comment on the rapidly evolving situation last week.
The sudden talk of industry bailouts, coupled with the plunge in the U.S. stock market and last week’s production halts, has many observers making comparisons to the financial crisis of 2008.
But the dire outlook due to COVID-19 is unlike the 2008 industry catastrophe, said Bill Diehl, who worked with suppliers then and is now executive adviser for consulting firm Umlaut.