As the UK enters another uncertain winter with a ‘work from home’ order and warnings about a ‘tidal wave’ of Covid infections, business owners in almost every industry will have concerns about what the next few months will have in store.  

However, the good news is that although the motor industry faces many challenges, the new government restrictions are not thought to pose any immediate threat.  

Business as usual  

When the Plan B measures were announced, the chair of the Independent Motor Dealers Association, Umesh Samani was quick to react, telling Car Dealer Magazine that as car salespeople are required to be on the forecourt in order to sell cars, the retail side of the business would remain unaffected. Clearly the same holds true for motor manufacturing, so under the current rules, the ongoing semiconductor crisis remains the major challenge for carmakers.  

Learning from past experience  

Auto Trader also offered some reassurance, with data showing that in April 2021 when all forecourts were limited to a ‘click and collect’ service under strict lockdown restrictions, car retailers reported that they were still doing over 90% of their normal business. This means that even if further restrictions are enforced this winter, car sales should remain unaffected thanks to continuing strong demand for both new and used vehicles.  

While restrictions remain at their current level, as for any retailer, the best way for car retailers to maintain and attract visitors is to create a safe environment by providing clear Covid signage and enforcing the use of hand sanitiser and masks for staff and customers.  

What would Plan C look like?  

Despite the continuing challenges of the computer chip shortage and Brexit, it feels like the car manufacturing industry has come a long way since the dark days of the first lockdown, when only 197 cars were manufactured in the UK in April 2020.  

With the impact of the Omicron variant currently unknown, it would be wrong not to have concerns. However, with the booster vaccination campaign well underway, we are not in the position of being defenceless against the virus that we were in the early months of the pandemic.  

Perhaps the most pressing Covid-related threat to motor manufacturing will be if the new wave of the Omicron variant leads to large numbers of staff absences due to either illness, or the ‘pingdemic’ phenomenon we saw back in the summer. However, with the booster roll out in full swing, hopefully staff absences will not reach a level where they seriously disrupt production. Also, it is hoped that changes made after the summer will mean that we will not again be in a situation when vast numbers of people are told to self-isolate unnecessarily.  

Looking to the future  

As we approach Christmas at the end of what has been another challenging year for everyone, we at Interflex would like to wish all our customers a very happy Christmas. At the start of the pandemic few would have predicted we would still face an uncertain future at Christmas 2021; however, we can take heart both from the vaccine programme and the resilience and innovation we have seen across our industry over the past two years.  

At Interflex, this year that spirit of innovation has taken the form of a diversification into the horticultural sector, with the launch of our biodegradable Mulchii mulch mats, which are designed to create better growth conditions for young trees. We are very much looking forward to manufacturing and supplying this new product in 2022.  

To find out more about Muclhii or any of the noise, vibration and harshness solutions we supply to the motor industry, please call us on 01949 861494 or email