Hi everyone, may I wish you all well in this period of extreme adversity as the UK's cases of Covid-19 continue to grow and our Government works extremely hard to encourage all citizens to minimise the threat to each other.
I've a plea to all senior automotive managers. If you haven't already, please lock the showroom doors and put physical sales and handovers into hibernation for a short while until the UK is coming out the other side of this crisis.
Doing so will help to play a vital part in the action plan to protect us, our NHS and ensure we will have strong foundations to build upon when we're ready to ramp up again.
The Government has now put mechanisms in place to support businesses and many employees through the coming weeks, so make use of these as soon as possible. It's hard right now to think and plan far into the future, but when normality returns we're going to need the skilled and experienced individuals you employ now. Support them as much as you possibly can, and they will support you in return and do their best to get business back on its feet when they can.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't still be keeping in touch with your customers. There are numerous channels at your disposal to keep them engaged, interested and give them something to look forward to.
This may be a catalyst for new ways of working in our industry; ways which may help bring the innovations and diversity it needs to meet consumers' changing expectations
I'm now into my second week of working at home, self-isolating due to a medical condition which even in normal times leaves me at great risk from pneumonia.
I admit it still feels strange. One of the aspects of journalism I love most is meeting people face-to-face and hearing their stories and opinions, and the prospect of being stuck at my computer for weeks (not to mention being with my children 24/7!) isn't particularly exciting.
But keeping safe has to be the priority. And I've had a steep learning curve in MS Teams and other digital platforms so I can keep in touch with colleagues and attend meetings as normal.
Meanwhile AM's news and features editor Tom Sharpe and I will continue interviewing our industry's leaders and managers in whichever way they choose. We're as easily contactable as ever.
And the contributors who write features for us, particularly Tom Seymour, Debbie Kirlew, Ian Halstead, Craig Thomas and Alex Wright, are all charged with keeping in touch with industry contacts on specific topics.
You can rely on AM, through the magazine (available in digital form as well as in print) and AM-online and social media, to keep you abreast of industry news and developments as usual.
Let's keep each other safe, sane and secure over the coming weeks. We will get through this.