Coronavirus & COVID-19 Automotive News

There are more COVID-19 and Coronavirus announcements and news from GM, Ventec, VW, Wells Fargo, Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, Mitsubishi, BATA, America’s Tire, Lyft and RepairSmith

GM & Ventec Working on More Ventilators

GM and Ventec Life Systems, in cooperation with StopTheSpread.org, the nation’s coordinated private sector response to the COVID-19, are collaborating to enable Ventec to increase production of its respiratory care products to support the growing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Ventec will leverage GM’s logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to build more of their critically important ventilators.  To support these efforts, StopTheSpread.org will continue to unite business leaders across the country to collect resources to complement and support government efforts.

“With GM’s help, Ventec will increase ventilator production,” said Chris Kiple, Ventec Life Systems CEO.  “By tapping their expertise, GM is enabling us to get more ventilators to more hospitals much faster.  This partnership will help save lives.”

“We are working closely with Ventec to rapidly scale up production of their critically important respiratory products to support our country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mary Barra, GM Chairman and CEO. “We will continue to explore ways to help in this time of crisis.”

VW Faces COVID-19 With More Face Masks For the Public

The Volkswagen Group will be providing about 200,000 category FFP-2 and FFP-3 protective face masks for public health protection in the near future. The donation is being made in close cooperation with Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn. The city of Wolfsburg is also to receive further medical material.

Volkswagen HR Board Member Gunnar Kilian says: “Solidarity take priority for Volkswagen. This principle also applies beyond the factory gate. People working in the public health sector are currently performing outstanding services to society. We are convinced that these face masks will be put to the best use by them. The opinion of the Board of Management is unanimous: Volkswagen is pleased to provide unbureaucratic support.

Repayment & Differed Payment Options

Ford, Hyundai, Nissan and Toyota financial services are  offering payment relief and repayment programs, as well as Wells Fargo Auto and Ally Financial.

Wells Fargo announced additional comprehensive steps to help customers, communities and employees grappling with the impact of COVID-19. The company has suspended residential property foreclosure sales, evictions and involuntary auto repossessions. Additionally, the Wells Fargo Foundation will increase its charitable donations to $175 million to help address food, shelter, small business and housing stability, as well as to provide help to public health organizations.

The Wells Fargo Foundation will also support the creation of the Coronavirus Pandemic Financial Resilience Resource Center to help the 100 million people with disabilities and chronic health conditions nationwide with alternative and accessible information and financial counseling, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Previously Wells Fargo announced up to $6.25 million in donations to support domestic and global response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and to aid public health relief efforts. The philanthropic funding includes $1 million for the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emergency Relief Fund and $250,000 to the International Medical Corps for their work in more than 30 countries. The company will also donate up to $5 million at the local level to help address community-specific needs in the coming months. //

Bentley Suspends Production

Bentley Motors will suspend production from March 20, at its Crewe, UK, factory headquarters for four weeks.

This decision is based on the accelerated rate of infection by coronavirus and understandable restrictions applied, the resulting interruptions in supply chain that will soon be seen, as well as declining demand on some automotive markets. But most importantly the decision is to protect the health of Bentley’s many colleagues, their families and communities.

Core business functions will continue throughout the shutdown with colleagues either based in Crewe, following social distancing policies, or working remotely. Production will not start again until 20 April.

Jaguar Land Rover Suspends Production

In light of the ongoing coronavirus situation, Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed that it will temporarily suspend production at its UK manufacturing facilities over the course of next week. The company’s intention is to resume in the week of 20 April, subject to review of the rapidly-changing circumstances.

As a responsible business, Jaguar Land Rover is operating in line with advice from the NHS and Public Health England to minimise the spread of the coronavirus, whilst implementing plans to safeguard its business continuity. The company will work towards an orderly return to production once conditions permit.

Volvo Suspends Production

The corona pandemic is now severely affecting Volvo Cars in many ways, in the form of a weakening market, a risk for production disruption as well as concerns for the employees.

The company´s primary focus is the health and safety of all employees. Precautionary measures and travel restrictions have already been taken.

Now, there is a need to further reduce the spread of the virus by going into a period of social distancing. This means production closures, working from home and taking more personal precautions.

The Belgium plant will remain closed until April 5. The Swedish and US plants will be closed between March 26 and April 14.

People working in our offices will generally work from home as of March 26 and working hours will be reduced.

These actions will secure jobs and ensure that Volvo Cars can come back to normal production as soon as it is possible and safe.

Earlier this month Volvo Cars reopened its four manufacturing plants in China after an extended closure period. Today´s showroom traffic is indicating a return to normal in China’s car market which is clearly demonstrating the advantages of being a globally balanced company.

“Our primary concerns are the health of our employees and the future of our business,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive. “With the help of valuable supporting programs put in place by governments and authorities, we have been able to act quickly.”

Volvo Cars is confident that these measures strike the right balance between mitigating the continuing impact of the pandemic and protecting its people and the company’s future.

The Volvo Cars manufacturing plants impacted by the measures announced today are located in Torslanda, Skövde and Olofström (all Sweden), Ghent (Belgium) and South Carolina (United States). The affected office employees work at the company’s headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, as well as at the Ghent plant and in its markets.

Mitsubishi Goes Remote

As of Monday, March 16, all Mitsubishi Motors North America headquarters and regional team members are working remotely from a home office for their safety and the safety and well-being of their families. With schools closed in many areas of the country, this has made it easier for our team members to react to their changing needs at home as well.

While working from home, the Mitsubishi Motors team is committed to continuing support for our many dealer partners across the United States, including providing them with additional guidance on cleaning and sanitizing their facilities. Each and every Mitsubishi Motors dealership is an independently owned business, and they are part of your community. Most dealers are still able to provide the sales, service, advice and support you need, and many have also put in place remote drop-off ability or other ways to minimize person-to-person contact.

If you currently own a Mitsubishi vehicle that is financed through Ally, our financial partner, you may contact them for up to 120 days of payment deferments. If you should decide that now is the time to purchase a new vehicle, Ally is also offering up to 90-days deferred payments on your purchase, depending on individual credit. This is all to make it easier for those impacted by business slow- or shut-downs to ensure you continue to have access to safe, reliable, innovative transportation.

Free Toll Bridges In Bay Area

At the request of Gov. Newsome, Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) today announced the temporary suspension of cash toll collection at the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges in order to minimize toll collectors’ and toll-paying customers’ risk of exposure to Covid-19 during the current public health emergency.

America’s Tire and Discount Tire Close Some Stores

For the safety of our people and customers,  the largest independent tire and wheel retailer in the World has begun temporarily closing Stores in select markets. The company began by temporarily closing 14 Stores in King County and Snohomish County, Washington. These precautionary and temporary Store closures were necessary to aid in the containment efforts where possible of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in documented high exposure areas like Washington State. The company followed with similar temporary closures in select Northern California Counties. Further temporary precautionary closures are being continuously evaluated based upon reported exposure data by County.

Store Managers are contacting Customers with upcoming non-essential services appointments impacted by the precautionary temporary closures. Following the recommended Protocols for COVID-19, all Stores are being thoroughly cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis. Employees are taking extraordinary precautions in handling transactions for essential services including allowing Customers to pull cars in bays and employing special handling precautions. Enhanced safety, hygiene and sanitation processes are being followed at company Stores that remain open across the U.S. Stores will remain open for the performance of essential services so long as it is deemed Safe for our People and Customers. Customers are encouraged to visit DiscountTire.com, America’sTire.com or Tires.com for the most current store hours in their area.

Michelin Phases Out Production

Michelin North America, Inc., will begin a temporary, phased shutdown of some of its tire production facilities in the United States and Canada due to the broad effects of COVID-19.

This phased suspension of some manufacturing will begin immediately and, based on the current outlook, will last for at least two weeks. The affected production currently excludes vital and critical tires for the country’s economic continuity.

Distribution and logistics activities will continue to support customers through existing inventories. The Company is monitoring conditions closely and has established appropriate contingency plans, prepared to adjust as the situation evolves.

Free Rides and Deliveries from Lyft

Lyft is offering services to help coronavirus with free rides and deliveries.

United Way*: As an expansion of Lyft’s existing partnership with United Way Worldwide, they are working with the 211 network to provide resources for specific use cases most in need.

National Council on Aging (NCOA): Lyft is providing free Lyft rides to caregivers within NCOA’s network to deliver food and supplies to their homebound loved ones.

Jobs Access & Grocery Access: Lyft is already serve vulnerable populations through our LyftUp Jobs Access Program, which provides rides to and from job interviews and trainings, and our LyftUp Grocery Access Program, which provides rides to and from grocery stores in food insecure areas. Now, Lyft is  working with  existing partners to meet the additional needs of these communities — for example, enabling Year Up, a Jobs Access partner of ours, to get their community members to the grocery store.

During times of natural disaster, Lyft typically team up with local organizations and first responders to provide rides to help those who need to access urgent services, food, shelter, and other critical resources. Trusted disaster response partners, like Team Rubicon and World Central Kitchen, are also activating for COVID-19 responses.

RepairSmith Donates No-Contact Repair

RepairSmith announced it will donate $100,000 in free, ‘No-Contact Car Repair’ to the communities it serves. The company is introducing a series of initiatives to support members within the community who are facing hardship because of the coronavirus.

In, California and Las Vegas, free car repairs are available to car owners who are severely impacted by COVID-19, either via loss of employment or acting as a frontline worker to their community. This includes government workers, service workers, delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, employees of grocery stores and pharmacies, volunteers and others who require the use of a functioning car, in locations where RepairSmith currently operates. Through the program, individuals can receive up to $500 in repair and maintenance services to keep their car safe and operating during this critical time period. RepairSmith offers on-site repair and maintenance for car owners at their home or workplace with certified technicians who can complete 85% of work on-site, all backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty.

To ensure a safe repair experience during all appointments, RepairSmith has implemented its ‘No-Contact Car Repair’ policy to keep technicians and car owners safe during the coronavirus pandemic including:

  • No direct contact between technicians and car owners during appointments. Car owners can coordinate a contact-free key transfer and pay over the phone in lieu of in-person with a credit card at the end of their appointment.
  • All technicians wear a fresh pair of gloves to each appointment and disinfect high-touch areas in the vehicle including the steering wheel, door handles and panels and car keys, and credit card readers. All high-touch equipment and tools in RepairSmith’s service vans are also disinfected.

All RepairSmith technicians are employees of the company, not contract or gig economy workers, and receive full benefits, including paid sick leave. With the coronavirus outbreak, RepairSmith issued policies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

allowing sick or symptomatic employees to take unlimited paid sick leave to ensure the safety of the community.

 

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