Automotive COVID-19 Coronavirus News

In COVID-19 Coronavirus news are Porsche, GEICO, Edmunds, Nationwide and SMP

Porsche Donates $1 Million

Following a seven-day bidding period and 32 bids, an online auction hosted by RM Sotheby’s for the last Porsche 911 (991) to enter and pass down the serial production line has raised $500,000 (auction hammer price). Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) has decided to match the winning bid to raise the total proceeds to $1 million. The money will be donated to United Way Worldwide, less taxes and fees, to directly aid its work for COVID-19 relief in America.

The winning bidder will receive the 911 Speedster at a special event hosted by Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Inc. With the car comes a unique package of experiences and gift items, including an exclusive tour of Porsche’s engineering and design headquarters in Weissach, Germany, as the guest of Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser and Andreas Preuninger. There is also a bespoke Porsche Design timepiece complete with the chassis number of the 911 Speedster etched onto its casing, accompanied by a specially created single-edition book charting the construction of the last 991 as it entered and passed down the serial production line in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.

SMP Donates Snacks

Standard Motor Products, Inc. (SMP) is honored to express their support and gratitude to each healthcare worker for the work they are doing to combat COVID-19 in their local Long Island City neighborhood.  In support of these heroic efforts, SMP has donated $1,000 of healthy snacks during the month of April.

SMP was able to set up weekly deliveries to Mount Sinai Queens Hospital to help them stock their café. This donation has allowed the hospital to extend the afternoon hours of their free café, which is open to all Mount Sinai Queens staf

GEICO Pauses Cancellations

With the economic effects of COVID-19 continuing to touch so many Americans, GEICO is extending its policy cancellation pause through May 31, 2020.

On March 20, 2020, GEICO voluntarily announced it would pause policy cancellations due to non-payment and policy expiration through April 30, 2020. The company is extending the cancellation pause to further assist customers during this period of great uncertainty.

“As an insurer, we are used to being there for our customers at difficult times,” GEICO President and CEO Todd Combs said. “Our commitment to our customers is unwavering, and we are committed to supporting them through this unprecedented crisis.”

Earlier this month, GEICO announced it was providing a 15 percent credit to its private passenger auto, motorcycle and RV policyholders, where permitted. The GEICO Giveback is applied as policies come up for renewal between April 8 and Oct 7 (or April 8, 2020, and April 7, 2021, for 12-month policies). The credit also applies to new policies purchased through Oct. 7. The company estimates the GEICO Giveback benefit to its customers will be approximately $2.5 billion.

GEICO has also committed to offering maximum flexibility to policyholders who need special payment options and adjusting policies for customers driving less because of stay-at-home directives.

State Auto Insurance Reduces Policies

State Auto Insurance Companies (State Auto) customers with personal auto policies as of June 1, 2020, will receive a 5% reduction on their entire policy premium at their next renewal. The discount is one of three elements of State Auto’s In This Together Plan, which is focused on supporting customers through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

● State Auto customers with personal auto insurance policies as of June 1, 2020, will receive an automatic 5% discount on their entire policy premium at their next renewal, pending regulatory approval.

● Customers with State Auto Connect personal auto policies also have the opportunity to save an additional 10% right away by enrolling in the State Auto Safety 360® program, which adjusts auto insurance premiums based on how customers drive, and how much they drive. With safe driving and fewer miles driven, customers can grow the discount to as much as 50% at their next policy renewal. (Safety 360 availability and discounts vary by state.)

● As it has since the beginning of the outbreak, State Auto will continue to work with customers who need flexibility when it comes to payments and payment plans.

Traffic Is Still Hated

Due to the current pandemic, most roads around the world are nearly empty. But under normal circumstances car drivers in the Americas, Europe, and Australia are not at all satisfied with the traffic flow in their countries. Nearly 70 percent are especially unhappy about congestion in city centers during rush hours. The top three negative effects people complain about: the environment and air quality suffer, travel times rise, and stress levels increase. These are findings of the “Kapsch TrafficCom Index.” 9,000 citizens representative of the population in 9 countries have been surveyed by a market research institute in the USA, Argentina, Chile, UK, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, and Australia.

The citizens most concerned with air quality and the environment are located in Spain and Chile, where more than half of the survey participants say the impact of road congestion is very negative in this respect. With the exception of the United States and Australia, where stress levels and travel time bother drivers most, air quality and environmental degradation is the number one negative effect.

However, the harmful impacts of congestion do not necessarily lead drivers to change their habits in order to bring down pollution: when asked about their preferred routes, 60 percent of surveyed drivers prefer to shorten travel time rather than finding an option with the lowest environmental impact. In the US, Austria, and Argentina more than 40 percent are strongly convinced that saving time should be the primary consideration in choosing a route.

“Public authorities play a key role in traffic management of the future,” says Georg Kapsch, Chief Executive Officer of Kapsch TrafficCom. “The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and the discussions on the future of mobility all illustrate the need to balance personal and community interests. The Kapsch TrafficCom Index shows us that drivers want to be more eco-friendly but need direction to help to counteract negative mobility effects for themselves and their communities.”

Cities like Buenos Aires, Dallas, and Madrid already use digital technology to fight urban road congestion. Kapsch TrafficCom has installed smart signal control systems in major cities around the world.

Edmunds Extends Offers

Edmunds, one of the most trusted online resources for automotive information and an industry leader in digital car shopping, today announced an extension of financial relief and continued investment in digital offerings and resources to support dealer partners during the coronavirus crisis.

Edmunds is offering an extension through the month of May of the 50% discount that it provided to its dealer partners in April. Subscription services for dealer partners will remain active and fully supported by Edmunds’ sales teams.

“Edmunds is doing everything it can to support our dealer partners as our industry continues to navigate through this crisis,” said Avi Steinlauf, Edmunds’ chief executive officer. “These are challenging times, but we’re staying true to who we are and helping dealers in the most effective way we can: by connecting dealers and their inventory directly to car shoppers online as they continue to research their next vehicle purchase from home.”

Edmunds launched a completely redesigned Industry Center page today, where dealers can find all of Edmunds’ free digital product offerings and solutions that will help them better navigate the challenges of the current selling environment. These include inventory badges on the Edmunds website for stores that offer home delivery or have custom hours,  and Edmunds’ Digital Retailing solution, which lives on the Edmunds website and enhances remote sales by driving car shoppers who have already built their deals online directly to dealers.

Edmunds’ Industry Center page also includes links to Edmunds’ coronavirus-related consumer tips and advice content to help empower and educate shoppers, along with links to research and content from Edmunds analysts who are staying on top of the key industry trends and offering actionable insights for dealers and automakers during this crisis. The page includes details on a social media campaign that Edmunds launched to highlight dealerships that have gone the extra mile for car owners and shoppers during the crisis. Edmunds is continuing to develop new resources to support dealers that it will add to this page on an ongoing basis.

“For more than 50 years, consumers have considered Edmunds the destination of choice for automotive information, and they aren’t stopping now,” said Steinlauf. “Shopper demand for research and inventory are showing signs of resurgence as consumers consider their next car purchase on Edmunds.”

People are Worried

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic is upending the global economy, driving unprecedented market volatility and record jobless claims, a clear majority of American adults age 18+ (59%), as well as a subset of U.S. investors with investable assets of $100,000 or more (61%), say they fear contracting COVID-19 more than facing a U.S. economic recession.

“It has been just over one month since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, and it is taking a toll on every aspect of our lives,” said John Carter, President and COO, Nationwide Financial. “People are struggling, they are making sacrifices, and we firmly believe that their health and safety should be everyone’s top priority right now. We are also committed to helping Americans protect their financial health for the long term. Our latest research identifies areas where they are challenged and looking for guidance.”

Roughly one quarter of respondents (24%) and the subset of investors (26%) are seeking help by engaging a financial advisor for the first time ever as a result of the pandemic. These are among the findings revealed by a new study from the Nationwide Retirement Institute of more than 2,000 American adults age 18+, including over 600 U.S. investors with investable assets of $100,000 or more, conducted online by The Harris Poll. The poll was conducted in April 2020.

“Right now, Americans feel a lack of control and a need for more guidance,” said Kristi Rodriguez, leader of the Nationwide Retirement Institute. “Even if they do all the right things to manage their finances and investments, the vast majority of Americans, including 80% of all respondents and 85% of investors, agree they can still be blindsided by outside events. According to 49% of respondents and 52% of investors, the COVID-19 pandemic made them realize that they need help managing their finances and investments to succeed in the future.”

Loss of Control and Need for Guidance
When asked how they feel about the impact of COVID-19 on their current personal finances, all respondents and investors are most likely to say they are cautious (38% and 41%, respectively) or uncertain (32% and 28%). If there is any silver lining, it is that roughly two in ten say they feel optimistic (18% respondents and 22% investors) and only a few say they feel hopeless (7% and 5%, respectively).

Advisors top the list of trusted sources for general financial and money management advice during the pandemic. All respondents say their top choices include a financial advisor (37%), friends & family (29%), online investment management/financial planning tools (20%) and their employer sponsored retirement plan (20%). Investors say their top choices include a financial advisor (55%), with friends and family a distant second (26%), followed by online investment management/financial planning tools (25%) and their employer sponsored retirement plan (24%).

Less than one-third of respondents (31%) already had an advisor, compared to more than half of investors (58%). More than one-third of respondents (35%) and nearly half of investors (49%) are now relying on a financial advisor more than ever due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. But nearly two in ten respondents (19%) and 14% of investors say they don’t trust anyone for financial advice during the pandemic.

Top Financial Concerns and Meeting Immediate Needs
While roughly one-quarter of respondents (24%) and one-third of investors (31%) do not expect the pandemic to impact their ability to meet their financial obligations, the majority of Americans are now feeling pressure.

Among all respondents, the top three financial concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic are being unable to pay bills or meet their financial obligations (45%), losing their life’s savings (33%) and losing their employment (30%). Among investors, the top three financial concerns related to the pandemic include losing their life’s savings (41%), being unable to pay bills or meet financial obligations (34%), while they are equally worried about being unable to afford healthcare and being unable to retire as planned (both 28%).

When it comes to meeting their financial obligations if impacted by COVID-19, roughly one-third of Americans, including 32% of all respondents and 36% of investors, will tap their savings. Respondents overall are somewhat more likely than the subset of investors to need other sources such as delaying paying bills (24% vs 19%, respectively), relying on one-time payment from the stimulus package (22% vs 15%), relying on help from family and friends (19% vs 15%), and relying on unemployment insurance (13% vs 10%). Both are almost equally likely to increase credit card debt (18% vs 17%).

Solutions for Protecting Financial Futures and Loved Ones
Heightened uncertainty and complexity are driving a need for greater financial protection. Roughly half of respondents and investors agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has made them recognize the need for annuities to protect their investments against market risk (47% and 51%, respectively) and to protect their retirement income (48% and 51%). More than half of respondents and investors also say the pandemic has made them recognize the need for life insurance (57% and 55%).

Americans are also worried about protecting their families and loved ones. Roughly four in ten of all respondents and investors are concerned the COVID-19 pandemic will impact their ability to fulfill potential caregiving responsibilities for others due to financial strain (44% and 41%) or due to their own illness caused by COVID-19 (42% and 40%). The majority of respondents and investors (56% and 57%) also say that the pandemic has made them recognize the need for long-term care insurance for themselves and the people they care about.

Staying the Course for the Long Term
While the pandemic impacts immediate financial needs and the ability to care for family and loved ones, 42% of Americans say they are staying the course with their long-term investments.

When managing their qualified retirement savings plans, such as their 401(k), 403(b), 457 and IRA, in response to COVID-19, nearly half of all respondents and investors say they will make no change and stay the course (42% vs 50%, respectively). If making changes to their qualified plans, respondents and investors are somewhat more likely to move to a more conservative allocation (14% and 19%, respectively), and somewhat less likely to move to a more aggressive allocation (10% and 15%). However, respondents overall are less likely than the subset of investors to increase contributions (10% vs 16%) but also somewhat less likely to decrease contributions (10% vs 14%).

When managing their other investments, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many respondents and investors also say they will make no change and stay the course (35% and 42%). If making changes to their other investments, respondents are most likely to move their portfolio to a more conservative allocation (14%) or invest more in the stock market (13%), while only 10% would take money out of the stock market and only 9% would move their portfolio to a more aggressive allocation. Investors making changes to their other investments are most likely to invest more in the stock market (22%) or move their portfolio to a more conservative allocation (19%), while 15% would take money out of the stock market and 14% would move their portfolio to a more aggressive allocation.

While respondents overall are somewhat less likely than the subset of investors to meet financial obligations, if impacted by COVID-19, by selling shares in qualified retirement plans (10% vs 16%), this may in part reflect the fact that nearly two in ten respondents (18%) don’t have a qualified retirement savings plan, whereas only 4% of investors do not. Likewise, while respondents overall are less likely than the subset of investors to meet their financial obligations by selling shares in non-qualified investments (8% vs 16%), this may also reflect the fact that nearly one quarter of respondents (24%) don’t have these other investments, whereas just 6% of investors do not.

Nationwide offers this resource to help consumers find a financial advisor that’s right for them.