COVID-19 Coronavirus Auto News: mojio, Porsche, Ferrari, GM & Volkswagen

In Coronavirus COVID-19 news are mojio, Porsche, Ferrari, GM, Proper Group, Michelin and Volkswagen

Data Shows Driving Behavior Changed

Mojio reports in response to the devastating spread of COVID-19 in the United States, Americans from coast to coast have united in an effort to stay at home and adopt social distancing practices. As a result, vehicle usage has seen a dramatic decrease of 38.4% in terms of total trips taken. However, the nationwide decrease in trips (and in many states) is now flattening off, decreasing by a further 1.3% since the prior period of March 23 to March 29. The two states with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases (New York and New Jersey) are amongst the top 5 states to have changed their driving behavior, showing decreases of 45.8% and 44.0% respectively. The neighboring state of Vermont has parked their vehicles more than anyone else in the country, trimming the number of trips by 61.5%. On the other hand, Iowa, which remains one of only 5 states to not issue a state-level stay-at-home order, has seen the smallest change in vehicle usage, decreasing by only 22.7%.

Porsche Auction to Raise Money

Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) and RM Sotheby’s will host a unique charitable auction with a money-can’t-buy package for Porsche enthusiasts. With proceeds, excluding taxes and fees, being donated to United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund, the auction’s sole lot will be the last-ever 991 generation 911 to enter and pass down the serial production line within serial production at the Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen factory. The one-week auction in the U.S. will be held via RM Sotheby’s Online Only auction platform to adhere to social distancing guidelines without delaying the charitable fundraiser.

Fittingly, the auction vehicle is a unique 911 Speedster, one of 1,948 examples, created to mark 70 years of Porsche sports cars.

Porsche Design is supporting the auction with the creation of a bespoke addition to the package: a 911 Speedster Heritage Design Chronograph. The watch incorporates the vehicle’s historic design features, including a strap made in the exact same cognac leather as that applied to the interior of the sports car and a silver winding rotor that mirrors the car’s unique wheels.  Created exclusively for 911 Speedster customers and made in Switzerland, the limited-edition and COSC-certified timepiece with flyback function will feature the chassis number of the final 991 generation 911, making it unique.

The winning bidder and a guest will be invited to take a personal, behind-the-scenes tour of the Porsche AG Weissach development headquarters – including experiencing the test track – on a 1:1 basis with Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser and Andreas Preuninger, heads of the 911 and GT model lines respectively. The car will also be accompanied by a one-of-a-kind book illustrating the assembly and completion of the last 991, including photographs and an original sketch by the Speedster design team. Finally, the handover of the vehicle will be hosted by Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of PCNA, which will take place at a dedicated event in the U.S.

Ferrari Speeds to Help

Ferrari’s efforts to address the coronavirus pandemic continue: the Company has launched a fundraiser to support the health system of the province of Modena and will be matching all of the donations made by its clients.

The initiative is the result of shared efforts by the Company and its many international clients who, in the past years, have taken part at the wheel of their Ferrari cars in the Cavalcade, travel experiences organised by the Prancing Horse. Ferrari will replicate every amount donated by its clients.

In a matter of days the fundraiser has already reached the million Euro mark, and it will continue over the coming weeks.

Initial funds have immediately been made available to Modena, birthplace of Enzo Ferrari himself. The Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale (AUSL), the local health care unit of the Italian National Health Service, will use them to treat patients affected by Covid-19 and to purchase medical aids and equipment to counteract the infection.

Part of the funding will be employed in the expansion of Telemedicine, which allows for remote monitoring of citizens with potential Covid-19 symptoms through devices connected to smartphones or tablets via Bluetooth. Thanks to the Ferrari donations, the AUSL Modena is already using this technology with patients residing in the province’s nursing homes, who are already suffering from neurological disorders, and have been tested positive for the virus.

Ferrari has also recently donated an ambulance to AUSL Modena that is fully active and in daily use by the emergency department for all Covid related patients.

The Company continues to consider further actions to bring immediate tangible assistance to the community during the current emergency and in particular thanks the generosity of its many clients from around the world.

GM Actions

In response to the constantly-evolving challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, General Motors has acted swiftly, harnessing its scale to provide frontline workers with the ventilators and supplies they need to respond to this global crisis.

Simultaneously, GM has taken measures to bolster communities across the country, investing $2.65 million in 40 nonprofits and supporting employee volunteer and donation efforts.

“Our team at GM has shown ingenuity, creativity and heart as we face this pandemic,” said Mark Reuss, GM president. “We have mobilized our manufacturing capacity to aid response efforts, and we’ve been actively engaged in our communities to help find solutions to new and compounding challenges, especially in education.”

Included in these efforts is a $1 million grant to the DonorsChoose Keep Kids Learning program, which provides $1,000 credits to 1,000 teachers in high-need school districts to help send basic resources like books, pencils, notebooks, food and cleaning supplies to students’ homes.

“When schools began closing last month, we surveyed over 4,000 teachers from the country’s highest-need districts and found that nearly 70 percent of their students lack resources to learn at home,” said Charles Best, DonorsChoose founder and CEO. “The unfortunate reality is, when students cannot go to school, the resources available in their homes are going to shape their education, which means coronavirus threatens to widen educational inequity. We’re grateful for General Motors’ support of our Keep Kids Learning program, to help teachers prepare their students to continue learning at home.”

An additional $1.65 million in grant funding is being deployed to GM facility communities across the country. Each facility dedicates funds to nonprofits providing critical services to their communities like food and housing assistance, small business support and at-home learning resources for parents, teachers and students.

Stay-at-Homers Ready for EVs

Government-enforced lockdowns around the world, due to Covid-19, are without doubt making life difficult for many, but they are also having a dramatic positive impact on people’s awareness of the benefits to the environment, reports Venson Automotive Solutions.  45% of people surveyed by Venson confirmed that the radical improvement on air pollution across the globe as a result of the demobilisation of transport, has made them reconsider their electric vehicle (EV) ownership plans.  A further 17% said it reaffirmed the decision they had already made to make the switch to an EV.
Of the 45% of motorists who are now reassessing their EV options, 19% said their next company car or private purchase would be an EV, with the remaining 26% confirming they intend to become an EV driver in the next 5 years.  In an EV attitudes survey conducted by Venson in July 2019, 41% of people said they were considering moving to an EV, but 31% said that they wouldn’t for another 10-15 years, confirming the intention by many to play their part in protecting the environment has since accelerated.
Alison Bell, Marketing Director at Venson Automotive Solutions commented: “Reducing emissions has been a hot topic and a clear government, business and personal target for several years now, but still the growth of electric vehicle (EV) ownership has been slow. This is despite evidence that transport is responsible for 23% of global emissions, and driving petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles contributes 72% of the transport sector’s greenhouse gas emissions*.”
The latest survey from Venson also reveals that the public would like to see more done by Government – and businesses – to expedite the take up of EVs once the UK has recovered from the Covid-19 crisis.  This includes further investment in the charging infrastructure (62%), the introduction of more Clean Air Zones in major cities (38%) and new legislation that supports businesses to move to fully electric company car or commercial vehicle fleets in the next 5 years (38%).
Concludes Alison Bell: “In recent years we have seen the cost of electric vehicles fall, battery efficiency increase, and the network of both public and private charging points grow significantly.  All of these steps have boosted consumer confidence in an EV future, however whilst ownership is increasing, we still have a long way to go. Having said that, fleet managers looking to introduce fully-electric fleets could find employees more open to the idea now they have seen the global benefits it could bring to the environment.”

Proper Group Helping with Medical Supplies

Proper Group, a premium manufacturer of complex tooling and high-performance polymer products in the automotive, lighting, and industrial markets, announced the formation of the PGM medical business unit to help address critical medical supply challenges posed by the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Proper Group is developing and manufacturing products and components for life-saving medical equipment. Proper is responsible for building tools and production of key components, as part of a program led by General Motors and Ventec Life Systems to increase production of ventilators. The building of the tools is well underway, with production starting as soon as April 24 at manufacturing facilities located in Warren, Michigan and Pulaski, Tennessee.

Proper Group also announced production of face shields for Henry Ford Health System. The PGM medical business unit designed, developed, and moved into production within one week. The team will produce over 40,000 shields in the next three weeks. Proper Group is manufacturing face shields for Henry Ford Hospitals in Detroit, Macomb, Wyandotte, Jackson, and West Bloomfield.

Since the start of the current health crisis, a race against the clock has begun to increase the number of masks available in France and around the world. In response to this emergency, Michelin has mobilised its teams’ tremendous capacity for innovation as well as the Group’s expertise in research, materials, manufacturing and scientific intelligence to develop, produce and deliver several types of mask in large quantities and within extremely short timeframes. Through this initiative, Michelin is playing an active part in the global battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, both by increasing the number of masks it donates to health-care workers in the countries where it operates, and by protecting the health and safety of its own employees by providing them with masks.

Michelin Makes Masks

Following the initialization phase now underway, Michelin will produce some 400,000 category 1 surgical masks weekly, either in its own workshops or in collaboration with partners or subcontractors. Ten sites** in Europe have already been selected, including La Combaude in Clermont-Ferrand (France), Olsztyn (Poland) and Zalău (Romania). European capacity will be extended in the coming weeks thanks to the deployment of similar initiatives in North America.

The OCOV® FMP1 or FMP2 mask, entirely developed and manufactured in France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in record time, is affordable and sustainable. It can be produced in large quantities and reused up to 100 times thanks to five washable, interchangeable filters.

Production of a prototype batch of 5,000 units is underway. The goal is to produce one million masks per week by May, leading to total production of more than five million masks by end-June – the equivalent of 500 million single-use masks.

At the request of several French hospitals, Michelin has launched the production of sterilisable polycarbonate visors for health workers. As early as next week, the Group will be managing the outsourced production of 10,000 visors.

Volkswagen Group Donates Relief for Refugees

The Volkswagen Group is donating one million euros for immediate aid and emergency relief for refugees in Syria, Turkey and Greece menaced by the corona pandemic. The funds will be given to the German Red Cross (DRK), which is organizing and implementing support locally together with the national Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations.

Volkswagen Board Member for Human Resources, Gunnar Kilian, underscored: “Volkswagen has a responsibility for refugees and the humanitarian consequences of global migration. Our Group has engaged in refugee aid since 2015. Given the present emergency situation in the Mediterranean area, we are expanding our engagement for refugees beyond Germany: Because corona knows no national borders. With this donation, we want to help provide swift and effective local support. “

According to the United Nations, almost 3 million people in north-west Syria urgently need aid. There are a further 3.8 million refugees in Turkey. At the same time, tens of thousands of people and their families are having to endure unbearable social and hygienic conditions on the Greek-Turkish border and on the Greek islands. And now there is also the threat of the corona pandemic.

The funds made available by the Volkswagen Group are to be used to procure, transport and distribute humanitarian assistance and food as well as medical and psychosocial emergency relief. In addition, the funds will also finance equipment, training and supplies for the volunteers from the local sister societies of DRK as well as local aid organizations.

In the course of the corona crisis, Volkswagen has already donated several hundred thousand medical face masks for the public health system. A further donation totaling some €40 million is being used to air-lift additional medical supplies such as face masks and protective clothing for medical centers and hospitals from China. The Group has begun producing face shield components using 3D printing for delivery to Spain. Furthermore, Volkswagen is using its international supply and logistics network to provide support to the public health system to procure medical products and aid materials.

Volkswagen Group Refugee Support has been initiating and coordinating integration programs in Germany to prepare young refugees for occupational training and the labor market since 2015. Over 5,000 people have already been helped to date. Expanding refugee support on an international scale is an important element of the Volkswagen Group’s engagement in these activities.

Plymouth Rock’s 25% Credit

Plymouth Rock Assurance, a leading auto and home insurance provider in the Northeast, today announced that it will provide relief to its customers affected by COVID-19, as well as an option to donate the savings to non-profit organizations supporting the fight against the pandemic. Subject to regulatory approval, the company will apply a 25 percent premium credit on Liability and Personal Injury Protection Coverages to all existing and new auto insurance policies, and will voluntarily waive comprehensive and collision deductibles for any health care worker involved in an accident while driving to and from work, or in the line of duty. For its home insurance customers, Plymouth Rock will apply its Alternative Living Expense Coverage to any health care worker required by illness or job requirements to stay away from home.

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