Coronavirus COVID-19 News for the Automotive Industry

From https://pixabay.com/illustrations/man-window-corona-coronavirus-4957154/

In COVID-19 Coronavirus news today are EyeSight, GM, HyreCar,Trader Interactive, Autobell Car Wash, Ford,

Even with Face Masks Drowsy Drivers Can be Protected and Detected

Eyesight’s driver monitoring can now detect driver distraction and drowsiness even with a face mask. The idea behind pushing this out now is to help protect truck drivers who are essential in keeping food on our shelves and delivering medical supplies, and in recognition of the fact that we’ll likely be wearing face masks for a while after we get out of our homes. The problem arises from the Coronavirus crisis because drivers are now allowed to drive for longer periods of time.

GM Mass Produces Ventilators

General Motors Co. today began mass production of the Ventec Life Systems V+Pro critical care ventilator under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In less than a month, Ventec, GM’s supply chain and its manufacturing, logistics, legal, and talent acquisition teams were able to marshal support to deliver a 30,000-unit order from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The effort involved sourcing hundreds of parts and assemblies from suppliers; the design of a new manufacturing process; the transformation of GM’s Kokomo factory; the ongoing hiring of more than 1,000 manufacturing team members; and the implementation of extensive health and safety protocols in the workplace.

More than 600 ventilators will be shipped this month, almost half the order will be filled by the end of June and the full order will be completed by the end of August. GM has the capacity to build more ventilators after August if needed

Hyundai Supports Drive-Thru Testing

Hyundai Motor America today announced the expansion of its support for COVID-19 drive-thru testing to 22 hospitals nationwide with $4 million in grants through its Hyundai Hope On Wheels program. These grants are designed to combat the coronavirus by providing increased access to testing throughout the nation.

The company also announced an in-kind donation of 65,000 COVID-19 RT-PCR tests developed by Seegene, a South Korea-based global leader in multiplex molecular diagnostics. Seegene’s test can simultaneously detect three different genes (N, E and RdRP) of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Hyundai is the only automaker providing these critical testing capabilities to hospitals, especially in hard-hit cities like New Orleans, Chicago and Detroit.

HyreCar Gets Cares Act Loan

HyreCar Inc. (NASDAQ: HYRE), the carsharing marketplace for ridesharing and food/package delivery services, today updated its reported financial results and provided a corporate update for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2019 and announced receipt of $2.0 Million in funds from the SBA Paycheck Protection Program.

The Paycheck Protection Program Loan is from the 2020 Cares Act through the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) and our financial services partner, JPMorgan Chase. Much of this loan is expected to ultimately be forgiven, since the proceeds will primarily be used to support fixed costs such as payroll and rent through the second quarter. This coupled with reductions to large portions of HyreCar’s expenditures like insurance and marketing which are variable in nature during the past month, are prudent financial steps to respond to the current COVID-19 situation.

HyreCar reports that Lyft and Uber drivers transitioned to delivery drivers. More than 60% of all HyreCar drivers are active drivers for both rideshare and delivery service companies.
HyreCar’s insurance product gives drivers the flexibility to use the same car for rideshare and food and package delivery, attracting drivers to our unique service not offered by our competition.

Trader Interactive Intros Virtual Retailing

Trader Interactive, a leading marketplace and dealer services provider for the lifestyle vehicle and commercial equipment industries, has introduced a series of virtual retailing tools and services designed to enhance dealers’ leads, streamline the lead management process, and provide multiple channels for connecting with in-market consumers online. Additions include new functions created to encourage consumers to make an offer on or request a video of a piece of inventory, increased communication with the addition of video & live chat as well as a texting option, upgraded lead management tools and the new Lead Enrichment feature, offering industry-first consumer shopping activity insights.

The virtual retailing collection of tools includes:

  • Make an Offer
  • Request a Video
  • Video Chat
  • Lead Enrichment
  • Lead Manager
  • SMS Texting 
  • Live Chat (free through May 2020)

All of the solutions mentioned above are available for free to Trader Interactive dealers immediately.

Autobell Disinfects

Like distilleries turned hand sanitizer manufacturers and other industries pivoting to provide products crucial in the fight against COVID-19, Autobell® Car Wash has shifted its focus from car washing to providing an essential vehicle Interior Disinfectant service to help flatten the coronavirus curve.

PURTABSTM is an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant that meets the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19. The disinfectant is applied using a fogging technique after people and pets exit the vehicle. This is followed by a one-minute activation period with car doors and windows closed.

The Interior Disinfectant service will eventually become an optional a la carte service, but it is currently provided free for essential workers visiting Autobell® for an interior cleaning, as well as a free stand-alone service for first responders and government workers with a government-issued ID.

Dealers United Supports Dealers with Messaging

Dealers United, an innovative leader in the auto ad tech industry, is taking the initiative to help automotive dealers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Driven by a passion for helping auto dealerships achieve long-term success, they are leading the charge by developing several tools and resources to proactively guide automotive dealers during this unprecedented time.

Dealers United is encouraging dealerships and local businesses alike to have messaging and plans in place to continue operations, while still staying safe and preventing the impact of this virus.

On March 26, 2020, Dealers United hosted a powerful webinar, State of Automotive, co-hosted by five dealers from across the U.S. and Canada, IHS Markit, and Facebook Automotive. The webinar focused on sharing dealers’ personal experiences on their businesses and messaging, as well as best practices to help drive sales and service revenue during the COVID-19 crisis.

Matt Sneed, Director of Marketing at Power Ford in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was one of the dealer-panelists in the webinar. “Going digital is so much more agile than traditional marketing and traditional media,” Sneed said. “The targeting you can do on Facebook is so far superior to anything else. You can be proactive with your message.”

Since state regulations have limited Sneed’s dealership to sell vehicles only to essential workers, Sneed has repositioned their advertising spend to promote service campaigns. Using Facebook and Instagram Ads, Power Ford has been able to proactively target potential service customers with the latest information and offers.

“Facebook was made for moments like this,” agreed Michael Renaud, Vice President of Leader In Cars Auto Group during the State of Automotive webinar. Renaud goes on to describe how his auto group, located at the virus epicenter of New Rochelle, New York, has been using Facebook and Instagram to quickly let customers know their latest store updates and hours, what precautions they’re taking to keep everyone safe, and how shoppers can get in touch with them for questions or appointments.

Guided by Facebook Automotive best practices, data-driven insights and audiences from IHS Markit, and their dealer-partners’ experiences, Dealers United developed several free resources for auto dealers during the coronavirus pandemic. These resources give dealers a proactive plan to communicate with their customers and community about their dealership’s ability to serve customers in their time of need while making them feel safe and secure about the buying process.

The valuable information included in the Dealers United COVID-19 resource webpage contains the following:

Dealership “Facebook Ad Playbooks” and templates for both service and sales strategies amid COVID-19
A recording of the State of Automotive webinar event, featuring five dealer-panelists
An article about the latest car shopper trends during COVID-19
An article offering messaging ideas to help maintain and drive sales
The IHS Markit Rapid Response Report, focused on COVID-19
Facebook’s official guide about ways that auto dealership advertisers can respond to COVID-19

Leveraging these resources, auto dealers can create and execute strategies to strengthen their business and help it remain prosperous throughout and beyond the pandemic.

Lexus Cancels Milan

Following the official cancellation of this year’s Milan Design Week, Lexus has also canceled its 2020 Lexus Design Event, “SENSES ELECTRIFIED.” Lexus is committed to making a better world through design and will continue to explore opportunities to collaborate with the creative community.

The 2020 Lexus Design Award Grand Prix winner announcement, which had been scheduled for the same time, will be held separately at a date to be announced once details are confirmed.

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