In July 2020, Dykema, MICHauto and The Right Place canvassed automotive executives, professionals and service providers to gauge their perspectives on the U.S. economy and the automotive industry and, particularly, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey polled respondents in six revenue categories, from under $1 million to over $1 billion, for 2019 sales. Approximately 60% of the automotive industry respondents fell in the mid-range between $10 million to $1 billion. A significant majority of respondents, including automotive industry respondents, were business executives, with the remainder consisting of lawyers, accountants, investment bankers, commercial bankers and other professionals and service providers.
While 84% of automotive industry respondents suspended or shutdown their U.S. operations during the pandemic, only 20% reported suspending or curtailing U.S. operations after reopening. Virtually all automotive industry respondents expect revenue declines in the next year, with a majority expecting those declines to exceed 20%.
In light of continuing uncertainties surrounding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, respondents were decidedly negative (46%) about the U.S. economy over the next 12 months, with a majority (54%) of the automotive industry respondents reporting a negative outlook. However, the outlook shifted to decidedly positive when looking out 24 months, with a majority of respondents having a positive outlook, and 46% of automotive industry respondents sharing that perspective.
With regards to the outlook for the U.S. economy over the next 24 months, the vast majority (76%) of respondents in this survey have a positive outlook over the longer term; with only 5.7% of respondents having a negative outlook.