It’s been a long time since any of us have seen open dealerships, more so drive our cars in for maintenance jobs. As the current pandemic continues to spread, the automobile industry has helped by way of fleet loan-outs and donations.

This then begs the question: are these vehicles that see action day in and day out still reliable, safe, and dare we ask roadworthy?

PH auto industry wants to start reopening dealerships ASAP image

The Philippine Automotive Dealers Association (PADA), the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association, Inc. (TMA) think that these are relevant issues to be addressed. For those who might not be familiar, PADA is the association of dealerships of manufacturers who are members of CAMPI. CAMPI, on the other hand, is the association that governs over the manufacturer brands themselves.

In a letter from both CAMPI and TMA addressed to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), both have submitted a call for dealerships to be re-opened. These aren’t without much thought and conditions, of course.

PH auto industry wants to start reopening dealerships ASAP image

PH auto industry wants to start reopening dealerships ASAP image

Both statements we acquired work around the premises of “maintaining a safe and reliable vehicle fleet to support transportation” and to be able to “provide preventive maintenance and repair services” to passenger and commercial vehicles that “deliver essential goods during the lockdown period”. They also went on to ask that such be considered as essential services. (Essential Services have had little to no difficulties in continuing their operations since the implementation of lockdowns and quarantine across the country.)

PH auto industry wants to start reopening dealerships ASAP image

It was also stated in both letters to the DTI that CAMPI and TMA have outlined dealerships’ proposals for skeletal workforces to be mobilized, and their dealers’ safety and precautionary measures to be implemented. In a time where physical distancing and the wearing of protective equipment has become the norm, we can only assume as of this writing that provisions to greatly limit the risk of contracting the coronavirus were part of the outlined guidelines for operation.

At the end of the day, it’s all about protecting those at the front lines who battle this pandemic. As far as the auto and trucking industries are concerned, their wares are important tools in the combat against COVID, and their safety and reliability must be tended to as well. Re-opening dealerships, skeletal workforces or not, may potentially bring more people at risk of contracting the virus, but in the name of safety and maintenance (and even the economy at that), then perhaps their request has rather high merits.

If they will indeed be provisionally re-opened, we’ll have to wait and see.