Coronavirus COVID-19 Latest Automotive News

In COVID-19 Corona Virus automotive news there are losses and gains from Purdy, Lear and Cars.

RIP Robert Garff

Long time car dealership chair Robert Garff and former Utah Speaker of the House, succumbed to complications from COVID-19 in after testing positive for the virus and being cared for at a hospital.

Purdy Pledges no Lay-Offs

At a time where uncertainty is at its highest, Harold Hurst, Purdy Mobility COO for North American operations, says one thing is certain: “We will not be terminating or laying off any of our associates as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” He continues, “It’s very important that we understand that the driving force behind our business is our people. We are a family business and we take care of our family.” Purdy Mobility owns and operates Bryan College Station Toyota, Huntsville Toyota, South Toyota, and YourDriveTexas, a subscription-based vehicle leasing company.

Purdy Mobility continues to adapt to the unrelenting challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic brings. “We have modified our business operations so that we may continue to serve our communities while prioritizing the safety of our associates and customers,” Mr. Hurst states.

Purdy Mobility is incredibly thankful for the work that first responders continue to do to keep our communities safe. To express the company’s appreciation, Purdy Mobility is offering discounts to all first responders on their service-related needs, including maintenance and repairs. “We’ve built our company around family – both our associates and communities, and we will continue to do so,” says Mr. Hurst.

Lear Corp Makes Masks

Lear Corporation, global automotive technology leader in Seating and E-Systems, has added capacity at its AccuMED production facility, which specializes in the manufacturing of medical products, to produce protective masks to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Donations of masks were made recently to the Detroit Medical Center, the largest health care provider in southeast Michigan, and the City of Detroit for use by the police and fire departments.

“We are proud to support pandemic relief efforts in the communities where we live and work,” said Lear President and CEO Ray Scott. “Protecting hospital staff and public safety officers has never been more important as they continue to go to work every day during this crisis to help others in need.”

In February, Lear’s Mocksville, N.C., facility designed a facemask in response to a shortage of personal protective equipment in China. Lear then added production capacity for masks in less than 72 hours. With cases of COVID-19 rising in other areas of the world, the operation has expanded from three production lines to seven, and now employs 200 people. Total capacity is 25,000 units per day, based on availability of raw materials.

In addition to the donations made recently in Detroit, Lear-produced masks have been delivered to other global locations based on the employee and community need for personal protective equipment. Lear is also moving to start production at plants in Mexico and Europe to manufacture protective masks. Once fully operational, Lear will have dedicated about 1,200 workers and will have the daily global capacity to produce 125,000 masks for local communities.

Additionally, the Mocksville facility is currently designing and developing full face shield visors for production to support the health care response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are committed to making donations of personal protective equipment until this situation improves,” Scott added.

Research Shows Need For Connected-ness Cleanliness & Deliveries

Recent CARS research revealed three key trends impacting the automotive sector driven by the COVID-19 outbreak:

  1. Car shoppers are looking to connect digitally.
    For the last few weeks, consumer interest in completing more of their car purchase tasks online has seen an uptick. Especially interesting to shoppers is handling price negotiations (48%) and financing (42%) online.
  2. Cleanliness concerns swaying nearly 1 in 5 consumers toward car purchases and affecting ride-sharing.
    Among survey respondents who do not currently own a car, the coronavirus pandemic has pushed 17 percent to now consider purchasing a car. The main reasons for increased urgency include a desire to stop riding public transportation (43%) and distrust in the cleanliness of others’ cars (28%). Furthermore, of the consumers who plan to buy a car, 1 in 3 have decided to speed up their timeline due to the outbreak3. The coronavirus pandemic is also driving a decrease in ride-hailing as 42 percent of survey respondents state they are using ride-hailing services less often since the virus outbreak.
  3. Auto dealers are ramping up digital and home-delivery capabilities.
    As consumers look to connect digitally with dealers across the country, there is an increased desire for more digital services and home delivery options. Dealer Inspire, a Cars.com company, saw an increase of almost 250 percent for Online Shopper, its digital retailing tool and nearly 65 percent for its AI-powered Conversation chat tool in March over February5. Among dealer survey respondents, most are ramping up their digital retailing capabilities such as online financing (57%) and online estimates for trade-ins (40%), while others are focused on online chat options (36%) and offering local home delivery of vehicles (49%)6.

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