Coronavirus COVID-19 Automotive Related

In Coronavirus news re Mullen Technologies, SEAT, GEICO, EFG and Point Predictive


EV Maker Makes Ventilators

Mullen Technologies has begun the manufacturing process for portable ventilators out of the Company’s high voltage battery R&D center in Monrovia, CA, in an effort to aid in the critical shortages hospitals around the world are currently facing.

Named after Oxygen’s atomic number in the periodic table, the Mullen 8 is designed to be a low cost, compact, highly reliable emergency use ventilator system. The unit can be economically mass produced from readily available parts to distribute to hospitals, field hospitals and even military combat support hospitals.

“These units can be the difference between life and death for thousands of people that require immediate respiratory assistance at hospitals that are unable to meet critical patient demand,” says David Michery, CEO and Chairman of Mullen Technologies.

The Mullen 8 is portable and utilizes a low draw, high torque drive motor that can be adjusted between 6 and 12 respirations per minute.  The primary use of the Mullen 8 is for emergency field operation or when larger respirators are unavailable. The device is powered by Mullen Technologies’ advanced battery system which enables respiratory function for dozens of hours on a single charge and can also be plugged into a traditional power source.

“We are moving incredibly fast on this initiative and have a strong team working around the clock, targeting the end of April 2020 to have the first full set of production units ready by. We’ve also been able to leverage our advanced engineering team in Europe and the U.S. to finalize the design and testing and expect to begin manufacturing in record time.  Our executive team has been focused on the product strategy, including regulatory requirements, procurement and logistics.  We’ve dedicated 40,000 square feet of our facility to produce this product and expect to have the line fully operational soon, with a production rate beginning at 5,000-10,000 units per week.  These units will be available for delivery by the end of May 2020.”

“The pricing for these devices is anticipated to be no more than $3,000 per unit.  Our goal is to have an affordable, reliable option for hospitals to use in these critical times.  We can deliver 10 to 15 of these units for what a typical ventilator costs a hospital.  We’re eager to help and are looking forward to getting these out to healthcare facilities that need them at the earliest,” says Mr. Michery.

SEAT Starts Making Ventilators

SEAT starts the production of emergency ventilators at its Martorell facilities to contribute to the crisis caused by COVID-19. The device has been authorized by the Spanish Agency of Medicine for clinic investigation and the daily production volume will be constantly adjusted with the authorities according to demand to avoid unnecessary stocks. The company will work to reach a production volume of 300 emergency ventilators a day at the SEAT Leon assembly line.

This emergency ventilator is being produced on the SEAT Leon assembly line at SEAT’s facilities and has an adapted windscreen wiper motor. Each device has more than 80 electronic and mechanical components and passes a thorough quality control with ultraviolet light sterilisation.

GEICO Gives Back Premiums

-GEICO is providing a 15 percent credit to its auto and motorcycle customers as their policy comes up for renewal between April 8 and Oct 7. The credit will also apply to any new policies purchased during this period. The credit is part of GEICO’s ongoing efforts to assist customers during this unprecedented time.

The average auto policy has a semi-annual premium of about $1,000 and generally covers more than one vehicle. This means GEICO expects credits to average about $150 per auto policy and $30 per motorcycle policy. The company estimates the benefit to its 18 million auto and one million motorcycle customers will be approximately $2.5 billion.

Current customers can expect to see the discount when they renew. Customers do not need to take any action to receive this credit.

Shelter in place policies have reduced driving significantly. Vehicle accidents are down considerably, and although GEICO expects a return to near normal once the impacts of COVID-19 subside, GEICO remains committed to serving its customers’ changing needs in the best way it can.

“This ongoing crisis has widespread effects that will linger. That is why we wanted to give this credit for at least six months,” said GEICO President and CEO Todd Combs. “Our customers have been loyal, and we are committed to doing all we can to help them.”

EFG Offers WALKAWAY Insurance

-EFG Companies announced today the re-launch of the product behind the award-winning Hyundai Assurance Program, WALKAWAY® Vehicle Return Protection. This automotive debt-protection product cancels up to $7,500 of negative equity associated with a vehicle purchase, regardless of age, health, or vehicle type, giving consumers the freedom to walk away from negative equity without impacting their credit.

After launching WALKAWAY as the Hyundai Assurance program during the Great Recession, Hyundai experienced an eight percent increase in unit sales while the rest of the industry declined by 21 percent. Over the next two years, the manufacturer grew market share by 57 percent. Since bringing the product to market, EFG has positively impacted the vehicle purchasing decisions with WALKAWAY for more than 826,750 consumers across the United States and Puerto Rico.

WALKAWAY Vehicle Return Protection allows consumers the option to return their vehicle in the event any of these unforeseen life events occur:

  • Involuntary unemployment
  • Physical disability
  • Loss of driver’s license due to medical impairment
  • Self-employment personal bankruptcy
  • Accidental death
  • International employment transfer

“Successful dealerships are defined by how they support their customers,” said John Pappanastos, President and CEO, EFG Companies. “This has never changed. What does change is the manner in which that support is delivered. Today, dealers have the opportunity to provide customers with extremely relevant and valuable protection regarding their finances and their ability to live their daily lives. This opportunity can serve dealerships as a true point of differentiation and avenue for revenue growth.”

One of the biggest threats to vehicle sales and auto loan volume is the uncertainty of whether today’s income will be there tomorrow. According to the Federal Reserve System Board of Governor’s latest Report on Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households, in 2018:

  • 39 percent of adults would have difficulty covering an unexpected expense of $400.
  • 12 percent of adults would have been unable to cover an unexpected $400 expense at all.

Considering this report was published at a time when the market was closest to its highest economic level, it illustrates the income fragility among the American public that we are seeing now as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, April 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that unemployment claims rose to 6.6 million, shattering the Great Recession peak of 665,000.

WALKAWAY gives dealers an effective defense when it comes to declining consumer confidence by:

  • Giving consumers the motivation and confidence to purchase their next vehicle
  • Increasing customer satisfaction and driving repeat business
  • Preserving their customers’ credit for future purchases

Point Predictive Frees Up Options

Point Predictive Inc., the San Diego-based company that provides machine learning solutions to lenders, announced today that they will provide their patented technology solution – SyntheticID Alert™ – to auto lenders at no charge for the rest of this year. The company is providing a free license to their software to help lenders scan and identify synthetic identities within their existing loan portfolios, as well as scan new applications that they receive for the remainder of 2020.

“In this changing environment, auto lenders will soon be facing enormous challenges in their collections departments, as well as managing rising rates of fraud in underwriting new applications,” stated Tim Grace, CEO of Point Predictive. “Managing synthetic identity fraud is a key issue that impacts lenders throughout their organizations. While lender collection departments are not currently repossessing cars due to delinquency or default, when repossessions resume, those cars that were sold to synthetic identities will often not be found. With SyntheticID Alert, we can proactively scan a lender’s entire portfolio and identify which borrowers are synthetic and which are real, so the lender understands their portfolio risk. And we know, from our decades of experience, that lenders will face a wave of new application fraud as the economy recovers. Not only will we scan lenders’ existing portfolios, but we will score each new application they receive so they can avoid funding any new loans to fictitious borrowers.”

SyntheticID Alert is powered by Point Predictive’s auto lending consortium and patented machine learning technology techniques. SyntheticID Alert scores each application or loan in the lender’s portfolio based on patterns of fraud that data scientists have identified across millions of historical automotive applications. The consortium aggregates over 4 billion risk attributes which includes application, performance and fraud information from over 30 lenders nationwide, spanning more than 104,000 franchise and independent auto dealers. More than 70 million applications have been scanned by the consortium to date; on a monthly basis, at least 1.5 million new auto applications are added to the consortium. This creates over 80 million new risk attributes each month to be used within the models to assess the likelihood of fraud or misrepresentation.

SyntheticID Alert was launched in 2018 and is already being used by auto lenders across the industry with compelling results. In head to head tests against bureau-based solutions, SyntheticID Alert detected up to 30% more synthetic identities while maintaining significantly lower false positive rates.