Automotive Coronavirus COVID-19 News

In Coronavirus COVID-19 automotive news are NY MTA, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Porshce and Dealer.com

No MTA in NYC After 1:00 Am

New York will close the MTA subways every night to disinfect the trains from 1:00 am to 5:00 am when only 10,000 people typically ride. Mayor De Blasio stated that buses, dollar vans and, if necessary, for-hire vehicles at no cost to the essential worker during those hours. MTA has reported a 90% drop in ridership due to pandemic. Homeless people have invaded the cars at night.

Ford Plans For Safety

Ford outlined its global health and safety protocols, sharing how best practices and input from around the world are helping to protect its workforce, dealers, customers and suppliers as it phases in the restart of its global plants.

The standards and precautions introduced this week expand on those used in Ford facilities in China, where work has already resumed, and in the U.S., where Ford has been manufacturing medical equipment for weeks. The people building those medical supplies have stayed safe and healthy by wearing face masks, face shields and other personal protection equipment, and maintaining at least 6 feet of space from other Ford people wherever possible.

The automotive industry accounts for 6 percent of gross domestic product in the U.S. – more than 7 million jobs are dependent upon automakers, dealers and suppliers.

No automaker employs more hourly workers in the U.S. than Ford, which manufactures and exports more vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker. Last year Ford built more than 492,000 more vehicles in America than the next highest-producing automaker.

F-Series alone requires four U.S. plants, approximately 19,000 Ford employees and 2,000 U.S. suppliers – and generates an estimated $50.2 billion in global sales revenue annually. That’s more than the 2019 annual revenues of American Express, Coca-Cola, Cisco Systems and Delta Airlines.

Ford is working to safely restart manufacturing in the U.S. and North America. The company recently announced plans to begin that process in Europe on May 4, and a small number of hourly and salaried employees returned to work this week in North America to begin installing equipment and putting in place new safety protocols.

Ford already has started educating its global workforce to seamlessly integrate and follow these guidelines, all captured in a safety playbook that will be available for employees along with personal protection and hygiene items, like masks and sanitizer.

While exact return-to work-dates for most hourly and salaried workers have not been determined, educating them now will enable them to return to work as safely as possible.

Safety actions include:

  • Daily online health self-certifications completed before work every day. Employees or visitors who indicate they may have symptoms or may have been exposed to the virus will be told not to come to work.
  • No-touch temperature scans upon arrival. Anyone with a raised temperature will not be permitted to enter and will be instructed to visit a physician to be cleared before returning to work.
  • Required face masks for everyone entering a Ford facility. Every Ford team member will be provided a care kit including a face mask and other items to help keep them healthy and comfortable at work.
  • Safety glasses with side shields or face shields as added requirements when jobs don’t allow for social distancing. Ford is evaluating workstations and work patterns and will implement other measures that protect workers whose jobs are typically performed within 6 feet of another person.
  • Facilities that have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and will be cleaned with increased frequency when they reopen.
  • Hand sanitation stations throughout Ford facilities and CDC signs with proper handwashing methods in all restrooms.
  • A comprehensive playbook with procedures and protocols that detail how the Ford team will work together to help keep everyone safe and healthy.

Toyota Postpones Re-Opening

Based on an extensive review with our supplier and logistics network, Toyota will postpone its ramp up of its North American manufacturing operations from the week of May 4 to the week of May 11. As previously stated, Toyota intends to gradually resume its manufacturing operations in compliance with federal health and safety guidelines, and local and state ordinances where our facilities are located.

MBZ Conours de Zoom

Mercedes-Benz USA will host the first ever Mercedes-Benz Concours via video conferencing through Zoom. Appropriately named the “Concours de Zoom”, this virtual event will feature iconic Mercedes-Benz vehicles alongside their high profile owners during this time of social distancing. Each prominent participant will showcase their prized Mercedes-Benz and share a few things they love about their vehicle. At the end, a donation will be made to the American Red Cross on behalf of the participants

Guests include Jay Leno, Rickie Fowler, Martha Stewart, Madelaine Petsch, Ludacris, Bloomberg’s Hannah Elliott, Cole Walliser and more.

VEHICLES: Classic vehicles that will be showcased include a 1908 chain-drive Mercedes with a Benz Aero engine (nicknamed Rabbit-the-First), a 1956 300 SL Gullwing, a 1988 560 SL and a 1991 G 300 D. In addition, dynamic new models that will also be highlighted include the A 220, the GLS 550, the AMG S 63 Coupe, the AMG G 63 and the AMG GT C Coupe.

Honda Produces Ventilators

Honda has begun producing and delivering critical components for the production of much-needed ventilators to Dynaflo Inc. of Reading, Penn. Honda teamed up with Dynaflo to increase Dynaflo’s production of diaphragm compressors, a key component of portable ventilators that are used in hospitals and by first responders throughout the country to help those stricken with the COVID-19 virus. The companies are aiming to produce 10,000 compressors per month once production reaches capacity. Honda and Dynaflo expect to maintain production of compressors through the end of August.

Honda has transformed a 6,000-sq. ft. area of its Technical Development Center in Marysville, Ohio into a space for associates to assemble the compressors. The process was developed using production know-how from Honda’s experienced manufacturing associates, including parts tracking, build timing, quality checks and lot control. These practices were essential in enabling Honda associates to quickly ramp up production over the first weeks of the project while maintaining social distancing protocols.

Dynaflo had been making these state-of-the-art compressors at the rate of about 75 per week prior to the COVID-19 crisis. In order to increase its production capacity in response to the pandemic, Dynaflo required substantial help. To this end, Dynaflo and Honda partnered with Stop the Spread, a coalition of more than 1500 volunteer CEOs working in Washington, D.C. and around the U.S. to catalyze actions and support the government in response to COVID-19. Stop the Spread connected Dynaflo to Honda and the two companies teamed up to meet this critical need for more portable ventilators.

“Being connected to Honda of America has been a Godsend,” said William Fleming, President of Dynaflo. “Combining our diaphragm compressor technology with Honda’s expertise in mass production is a perfect combination to help meet the needs of this crisis.”

To ensure consistency and quality, Honda associates have worked closely with Dynaflo personnel to learn best practices in compressor assembly. The training has provided Honda associates the ability to build and quality test the devices prior to shipping.

Porsche Extends Warranties

Following a range of measures initiated by Porsche to support customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the German sports car manufacturer is now offering an automatic extension on new vehicle warranties in the United States and worldwide.

The three-month extension will benefit owners of new vehicles with warranties set to expire between March and May 2020, thus ensuring customer mobility at a critical time. For example, a warranty that would otherwise expire on May 15 will automatically be extended until August 15. The extension also pushes back the start and end dates of Certified Porsche Approved Warranties, if they were scheduled to start immediately after new car warranties in the same March-May period.

“We wish to help our customers as we work our way through this unparalleled situation together,” said Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA). “The purpose of a warranty is peace of mind, which is something we are happy to provide at a time when it is needed most.”

For U.S. owners, the warranty extension is the latest in a line of initiatives driven by PCNA and Porsche dealer partners under the banner of “Porsche At Your Service” (PAYS). This new program bundles online and home options, providing a seamless customer experience and access to mobility.

PAYS services include home pick-up and drop-off for maintenance and repair. While this offering has been available, PCNA is assisting an increasing number of Porsche dealers to adopt the solution for customers who may be concerned about coming to the dealership. Additionally, digital retail programs have been expanded to more dealer partners, allowing Porsche customers to complete the majority of the car buying experience online with home delivery available upon purchase.

Furthermore, Porsche Financial Services (PFS) is doing its part in financing the mobility needs of customers. PFS is offering:

  • Lease-end extensions: Porsche Financial Services (PFS) is offering up to a six-month extension on lease contracts, for all requests received through May 31, 2020, four months longer than the regular extension period, to give customers peace of mind that their mobility needs are secured.
  • Payment deferrals: In addition to the longer lease extensions, PFS will, on a case-by-case basis, consider payment deferrals on both lease and retail contracts. Most payment deferrals are 30-60 days based on individual need, which proved to be very beneficial to customers during the financial crisis of 2008.
  • 90 Day to First Payment Finance Program: In states where the laws allow, PFS is offering a “90 Days to First Payment” finance program for new and Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, on retail finance contracts dated April 4 – June 30, 2020. This program is not available in Pennsylvania or Maine due to state regulations.
  • 1.95% APR for 60 Months Finance Program: PFS is offering a 1.95% APR for up to 60 months on select New and CPO retail finance contracts dated on or between April 16 – June 1, 2020. The 1.95% program is compatible with the 90 Days to First Payment Finance Program. This program is only available to Level 1 (Tier 1 credit) qualifying customers.

New Deal from Dealer.com

Dealer.com announced the launch of two all-new Digital Retailing capabilities, Video Chat and CoBrowse, to help dealers seamlessly communicate with shoppers during the car buying process. As consumers navigate this period of disruption, they are turning to technology for what used to be in-person, consultative interactions. These new tools, powered by global conversational solutions provider LivePerson  will create a more engaging environment for dealers to expand their omnichannel and online capabilities to further drive sales.

Navigating a deal online can be intimidating and a recent Cox Automotive COVID-19 Consumer Impact Study shows that 37% of six-month intenders are less likely to visit a dealership in-person due to Coronavirus concerns. In this new world where car shoppers might be unable to physically visit a dealership, Dealer.com is launching features to bring customers a real-time look and feel to car buying, allowing them to sit virtually with an associate and easily go through the entire process online.

Through the integration with LivePerson, Video Chat and CoBrowse are aimed at creating a more engaging environment for online shoppers with seamless navigation and more interactive features:

  • Video Chat – consumers can chat with dealers over video, initiated from the Digital Retailing application via LivePerson’s conversational platform.
  • CoBrowse – shoppers can share their screens with dealers while shopping, allowing dealers to guide consumers through the deal creation process as if they were sitting with the consumer at the store.

With these newly added enhancements, customers can now communicate with a dealer associate and work through the buying process online, viewing the same payments, terms and vehicle details as they would in-person.

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