As the lights go out (or at least down) on the UK car industry, and many of us look to be spending a lot more time at home in the coming weeks and months, it’s probably about now that many, many of us are worried about how this Coronavirus situation is going to play out. One thing I do know is that, as far as AROnline is concerned, to help us (and me) get through what’s coming, rather than obsess about the present, I’m going to think about the good stuff that’s waiting for us in the future, while getting nostalgic about the past.
So, the accompanying news story will probably be the last item reporting on the situation as it is now for some time. It’s worth noting that while Europe and the USA are facing a once-in-a-century financial and social crisis, the green shoots of recovery are almost hoving into view in China. Considering that news of the first reported case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) only emerged in Wuhan on 31 December 2019, there should be some hope to be taken from that. That means that maybe, just maybe, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s assertion that we can at least start to ‘turn the tide’ in 12 weeks might be something we can hope for.
Moving on from this, let’s spare a thought for all those key workers out there who are going to keep the country’s wheels turning in the coming weeks. The health care workers, the shop staff, the delivery drivers, those keeping the power on and the water running, and those wonderful volunteers looking after society’s weak and vulnerable are now the UK’s most important people. I really hope that, in time, their salaries will be adjusted upwards to reflect their importance for society.
What AROnline will be doing, going forwards
Well, let’s face it – most of you come here to read about the UK car industry, past and present. As there’s little present to talk about (until JLR starts pumping out ventilators for the NHS, of course), let’s focus on the past for some lovely escapism. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be revisiting some of the best development stories, grab some new interviews with important people related to our story, and run some lovely nostalgia-related pictures that will help you re-live the best – and worst – of times.
So, expect more images of old car dealers, car parks and filling stations from the wonderful Sainsbury Archive and video memories from YouTube. There’s nothing nicer for car geeks like me than to see pictures of how life used to be in most mundane places – car parks full of saloons, hatchbacks and estates instead of thousands of faux-SUV crossovers.
So, stay aboard, stay safe, think about your neighbours and friends, and keep in touch. For the time being I’ve moved up to Cumbria from my usual base near Peterborough, and am managing to work from home. Many, many thousands aren’t so lucky and are out there on the front line. So, please – keep in touch, as the odd check-in now and then goes a very, very long way. Trust me, we’ll get through this together…