As the first cases of the coronavirus were identified in Wuhan, China, in January and soon erupted elsewhere, the National Automobile Dealers Association turned its attention to Beijing, where many of the trade group's staff were scheduled to attend the Beijing Motor Show in late April.
But in February, the show was postponed. By this time, there were more than 71,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, with the U.S. reporting just 13 cases.
NADA, which like many others in the industry began tracking the virus early on, started looking at supply chain disruptions and other concerns from its dealer members and their automaker partners. But it wasn't until the end of February with the cancellation of the Geneva auto show that the association got its "first really big wake-up call," CEO Peter Welch said.