Coronavirus COVID-19 Auto News: GM, Subaru, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Just Tires, Trader Interactive & Travelers



In Coronavirus COVID-19 news today are GM, Subaru, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Just Tires, Trader Interactive, Travelers and Farm Insurance.

GM Makes Ventilator Statement

GM and Ventec Life Systems are working with speed and urgency to arm front-line medical professionals with the critical care ventilators they need to treat seriously ill patients. GM is proud to deploy its purchasing and manufacturing capability alongside the respiratory care expertise of Ventec. We remain dedicated to working with the Administration to ensure American innovation and manufacturing meet the needs of the country during this global pandemic.

Subaru Postpones Dine Out for Life

With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing dramatic changes to our lives and bringing devastating challenges to our restaurants and non-profits, the perennial restaurant fundraiser Dining Out For Life® hosted by Subaru, typically held on the last Thursday in April in cities across North America, will now be delayed in most cities. In Albany, Atlanta, Boulder, Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, it will be held in April as a virtual fundraising event.

Dining Out For Life has become key to funding community-based health service organizations dedicated to people living with, or affected by HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions. They are among the most vulnerable members of our community through this health crisis. The nearly 3,000 restaurants that participate need support now more than ever. Visit your community’s page on to see if the licensed organization has postponed its event date, and if so, note the new date for your community’s Dining Out For Life event.

With support from Subaru of America, more than $4.2 million dollars was raised from a single day of dining in 60 cities coast to coast last year, the most funds raised since the event began in 1991.

Bridgestone Reopens Commercial Tire Plant

Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone) has announced plans to restart its North American commercial tire plants as well as its North American Firestone Industrial Products and Firestone Building Products manufacturing facilities on April 13.

The company’s start-up plans reflect the performance trend in several key areas of its commercial and diversified products businesses not as severely affected by the current crisis. Bridgestone Bandag’s retread rubber manufacturing plants in North America resumed operations the week of March 29, due to demand by essential service providers. The company continues to work closely with its customers and partners to ensure adequate supply, while closely monitoring volatility in demand.

The well-being and safety of employees remains the most important priority for the company. To ensure the health and safety of employees, plants resuming operations will do so in alignment with the latest safety protocol guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Bridgestone’s passenger tire plants in North America, as well as all plants in Latin America are scheduled to resume operations by the first week of May, with some facilities potentially opening sooner.

The company has sufficient supply of original equipment and consumer replacement product to meet customer demand, but continues to align supply to current market demand. The company’s distribution centers, plant warehouses and logistics teams are continuing to fill orders.

Goodyear & Just Tires Zero-Contact Program

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Goodyear Auto Service and Just Tires locations across the U.S. have mobilized to offer “zero-contact” service. This service option is designed to help to limit personal contact and keep guests, including those in essential roles such as law enforcement, first responders, doctors, nurses and grocers, on the road and moving forward.

“Despite the many ‘stay-at-home’ orders in place and fears caused by the pandemic in communities across the U.S., there are many individuals who are essential to protecting public health and safety and need to continue traveling to and from work each day,” said Chris Campbell, director, Goodyear Retail Operations. “To help keep their vehicles moving and give them peace of mind, we’ve introduced this zero contact service to minimize contact between our store teams, guests and their vehicles.”

The zero contact process provides guests with the same high levels of service they expect from their local Goodyear Auto Service and Just Tires stores, but now offers a choice between coming into a store or conducting the entire exchange with zero contact.

Here’s how the zero contact process works:

  1. Book an appointment online or by phone.
  2. Come to the store and call us from your car. We’ll ask for a description of your vehicle to help locate you.
  3. A team member will come out to greet you, maintaining appropriate distance.
  4. A gloved technician will utilize protective measures, such as floor mats, steering wheel and seat covers before moving the vehicle into the work area.
  5. A team member will call you to review the work and collect payment by phone. As an additional precaution, the preferred method of payment is a credit card.
  6. Upon completion all contact points will be cleaned and your vehicle will be returned to the parking lot for pickup
  7. Call us upon arrival to the store and a team member will come out to greet you and perform a key exchange, maintaining appropriate distance.

This new service is in addition to the preventative measures previously announced by Goodyear Auto Service and Just Tires. These include a slight reduction in store hours, as well as enhanced disinfection, visitor protocols and physical distancing according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Trader Interactive Interacts with CARES

Trader Interactive, a leading marketplace and dealer services provider for the lifestyle vehicle and commercial equipment industries, announced today that it will be providing a webinar on the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program.  The Paycheck Protection Program, administered by the Small Business Administration, provides small businesses of 500 or less employees with cash flow assistance through federally guaranteed loans.  In this presentation, dealerships and manufacturers will gain a better understanding of this program, assistance currently available, eligibility requirements, the process in which to apply.  Led by experts from global management consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal, this live event will take place on Thursday April 9 at 4:00pm ET, and will feature David Javdan, Managing Director at Alvarez & Marsal and former General Counsel of the US Small Business Administration (SBA) post 9/11 and during Hurricane Katrina, and will end with a panel to answer attendee questions.

Travelers Insurance Pays Back

Travelers Companies, Inc.announced it is giving U.S. personal auto insurance customers a 15% credit on their April and May premiums through its new Stay-at-Home Auto Premium Credit Program. The company will automatically credit customers’ accounts, providing them with prompt and much needed relief during this time. Travelers will continue to assess the program as more information comes to light about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the driving environment and auto claims.

The company is working with regulators to obtain all the necessary approvals.

Separately, Travelers continues to provide auto coverage for customers across the country whose job responsibilities now include using their personal vehicles to make food, grocery, pharmacy and medical supply deliveries.

The Stay-at-Home Auto Premium Credit Program adds to the company’s COVID-19 response initiatives. Among other things, Travelers is offering billing relief to customers, is accelerating more than $100 million in commission payments to eligible agents and brokers and has pledged $5 million to assist families and communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic across North America, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The company also continues to work with individuals experiencing financial hardships to offer solutions based on their unique circumstances.

Farmers of TN Pays Back

Responding to economic stresses caused by the coronavirus emergency, Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee is issuing $30 million in special payments to auto policyholders, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Pannell announced Wednesday.

The payment program is funded from Farm Bureau Insurance reserve funds, which are set aside to protect policyholders in catastrophes such as tornado outbreaks and massive hailstorms.

“This situation certainly rates as a catastrophe. It’s not the kind of shock we typically plan for, but we’re glad the money is there to help,” Pannell said.

“It’s the right thing to do, both for our policyholders who may be in a financial bind, and for the state of Tennessee, which is in an economic slowdown,” Pannell said. “As the state’s leading automobile insurer, we believe we have a responsibility to pay it forward.”

The special payment is based on a percentage of premium paid for each vehicle covered. Farm Bureau Insurance covers approximately 1.2 million automobiles, more than any other insurer in the state.

Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee, headquartered in Columbia, Tenn., is a single-state company that offers auto, home and life coverage to members of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. Membership is available to all Tennessee residents.

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