Caronavirusly COVID-19 Automotive and Transportation News

AUTO Connected Car New’s COVID-19 Caronavirusly news includes Tesla, traveler confidence, FCA, buying and contactless parking.

Tesla Agrees with County

Tesla and the health officials from Alameda county have reached an agreement for the Fremont factory to reopen.

Alameda work with Fremont police “to verify Tesla is adhering to physical distancing and that agreed upon health and safety measures are in place for the safety of their workers as they prepare for full production.”

New Travel Report

This report is written to help those working at airlines and in the travel industry sort through the issue of traveler confidence and how it can be restored. Individual airlines, hotels, vacation rentals, car hire, airport transfers, and sightseeing companies are already making decisions to ensure the safety of their customers, which will also increase traveler confidence in the industry. This confidence will be built in layers, and here are some of the examples provided in the report:

  • Emirates prohibits large carry-on bags in an effort to reduce congestion in the aisles while boarding and deplaning, and to speed the process.
  • Etihad Airways is trialling new passenger screening kiosks to help identify travellers at the early phases of COVID-19 infection.
  • Hilton introduced an exceptional branding and operations platform in partnership with Lysol and the Mayo Clinic to boost guest confidence in hotel accommodations.
  • Korean Air has implemented temperature checks for all passengers boarding aircraft at Seoul Incheon Airport.
  • United is integrating electrostatic spraying into its cleaning procedures on all flights.
  • Xiamen Airlines has an inflight separation zone for ill passengers in the aft cabin.

Flight Plan 2020: Creating Traveller Confidence in the Time of COVID was released today as a free 17-page report sponsored by CarTrawler. The full report is available at

FCA is Prepared to Resume

As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) prepares to resume its North American manufacturing operations, the Company has developed and is implementing a comprehensive program of enhanced safety measures to protect employees, their families and the surrounding communities from the spread and transmission of COVID-19 when the plants reopen.

“Above everything else, our top priority has always been to do what is right for our employees,” Mike Manley, FCA CEO, said. “We have worked closely with the unions to establish protocols that will ensure our employees feel safe at work and that every step possible has been taken to protect them.

“We have drawn on our collective global expertise and best practices to rethink our production processes to put in place comprehensive protocols to keep our workforce safe,” Manley said. “There is no question that coming to work will look and feel different. I have now visited several of our Detroit-area facilities, met with our teams and walked the floor. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of our colleagues who have done an incredible job putting in place safety protocols to protect our people. Thank you all.”

Since closing its plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico on March 18, FCA has been working to put in place best practices that have enabled the restart of operations at its facilities in China and Italy. Aligned with World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommendations, these robust protocols, along with the actions employees will be required to take to safeguard themselves and others, were communicated as part of a Return to Work package mailed to nearly 47,000 U.S. and Canadian represented employees. Mexico will share the same information through in-person training.

FCA is implementing layers of protection to combat the spread and transmission of COVID-19. This includes cleaning, disinfecting and social distancing, but most importantly, ensuring the wellness of everyone entering an FCA facility. With that in mind, the Company will require its employees, as well as all visitors, to complete a Daily Health Risk Assessment, which consists of:

  • Taking their temperature less than two hours before reporting to work or visiting the site with either a Company-provided temperature strip or personal thermometer
  • Completing a self-screening questionnaire and turning it in upon entry

As an added measure of safety, the Company is installing thermal imaging cameras to verify what employees and visitors have self-reported.

Consistent with the direction of governmental agencies, employees will be required to wear Company-provided masks and safety glasses at all times when in the facility. Employees will also be asked to wear gloves and safety glasses when applying or cleaning with disinfectant spray. Visitors and contractors to any FCA facility will be required to provide their own personal protection equipment for entry.

During the production pause, FCA completed a significant number of cleaning and social distancing activities to prepare its facilities for when operations resume. These include:

  • Cleaning and Disinfecting:
    • More than 57 million square feet of manufacturing floor space cleaned and disinfected
    • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting schedules developed for common and high traffic areas, including turnstiles, restrooms, cafeterias, locker rooms and conference rooms
    • 135 hand-held foggers distributed for more efficient cleaning of these areas
    • Provided cleaning supplies at all workstations so surfaces can be cleaned and disinfected
    • Installed more than 2,000 hand sanitizer stations across all facilities
    • Daily audits to be conducted to ensure new standards are followed
  • Social Distancing:
    • More than 17,000 workstations analyzed and evaluated for adherence to six-foot social distancing guidelines
    • More than 4,700 job areas and workstations redesigned or protective barriers installed to allow for more social distancing
    • Installed plexiglass partitions and created visual management guides for social distancing in break areas and cafeterias, as well as throughout all buildings
    • Staggered start times and added time to breaks and lunch to minimize large gatherings
    • Suspended meetings of more than eight employees at a time and transitioned to virtual meetings, wherever possible
    • Put new approval protocols in place for facility visitors

Upon the restart of production, FCA is adopting a new level of daily cleaning and disinfecting, in accordance with WHO, CDC and OSHA recommendations, at all manufacturing locations in order to maintain the enhanced levels of cleanliness and sanitation. In addition to increasing the number of times per shift that high-traffic, high-use areas, as well as common touchpoints, are cleaned and disinfected, 10 minutes per shift will be dedicated to cleaning and disinfecting employee workstations.

Signage promoting the themes of health and safety have been posted throughout all facilities to remind employees and visitors of proper protocols related to cleaning, social distancing, required personal protection equipment and handwashing or sanitizing. Employees also will participate in small-group training sessions on the new policies and procedures as part of their first-day activities.

“We have taken a ‘belt and suspenders’ approach to mitigating the spread of this virus by implementing lots of layers of protection,” Scott Garberding, FCA’s Global Chief Manufacturing Officer, said. “You are a key part of successfully resuming operations. In this new environment, we all need to take responsibility for our own safety and that of the people around us. An effective start-up will require detailed understanding, teaching, coaching and patience from all of us.”

FCA will continue to monitor and audit conditions at all facilities, as well as the latest information on COVID-19 from federal and state agencies, to implement new safeguards and procedures as needed.

Gates Donates

Gates  a leading global provider of application-specific fluid power and power transmission solutions, announces charitable donations of more than $535,000 in support of organizations responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed by the company’s global headquarters in Denver, the Gates Industrial Corporation Foundation (Foundation) is working with nearly 100 Gates facilities around the world to identify and help fund local nonprofits that are making a difference. The Foundation is also offering double matching for U.S. employee donations to COVID-19-related organizations in this time of greatest need.

Responding quickly to the global outbreak, Gates initiated the charitable initiative with a substantial donation to the Hubei Charity Federation to support the medical needs in the area where the virus is believed to have originated. The aid campaign now spans other parts of South and North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa; Greater China; and East Asia and India, including 17 locations across the United States. Among the recipient organizations are chapters of large NGOs, such as the United Way and the American Red Cross, as well as local hospitals, food banks and other humanitarian organizations.

Donations, totaling more than $535,000, are being provided on an unrestricted basis to allow recipient charities maximum flexibility to address the most urgent needs in their area. Among those are Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline medical professionals and health care services and food and housing for the most vulnerable populations impacted by the pandemic.

Tips for Buying Cars During Pandemic

The shutdowns due to COVID-19 have changed the way American companies have done business, and as with many other industries, car dealerships are adapting to changing circumstances. Dealers across the country offer everything from appointment-only showroom shopping to online buying that includes a white glove driveway delivery. Currently, dealers in all 50 states can now either have customers in their showroom or can offer consumers a remote way to buy a car.

It’s a different world now for car shoppers, so here are some tips to help make sure you still get the right car at the right price:

  • Do your homework on the vehicles you’re considering.
  • Ask the dealer to be your eyes and ears on the lot. Request photos and videos of any car you’re thinking about. If there are features you care most about, ask them to take videos for you demonstrating that they work properly.
  • Research the car’s value to make sure you aren’t overpaying. The free CARFAX History-Based Value is based on several factors including where you live, the VIN-specific history of that vehicle, and current market conditions.
  • Check for open recalls. They’re noted on the CARFAX Vehicle History Report and you can use our free recall check to make sure any recall work is completed before you buy.
  • Take the car for a test drive. It’s still important to perform your due diligence when it comes to how the vehicle drives and if there are any apparent issues. Make sure you take steps to properly disinfect any surfaces before touching them.
  • Inquire about whether the seller has a return policy. Allow for time to have an independent mechanic inspect the car – they can see areas you can’t – and negotiate a several day return window if there are issues. And remember, service bays are open all over the country that can perform these inspections.

“We see our customers who are still looking to buy vehicles,” said Delleney Love, Vice President at Love Chevrolet in Columbia, South Carolina. “We’re trying to do anything we can to make that experience safe and comfortable. We live in a virtual world, and we’re comfortable connecting through screens. We know it’s an unprecedented time, but there are plenty of resources and tools available to make the digital car buying experience a successful one. Our goal is to make researching a vehicle and its history easier than ever, so our customers can make confident decisions.”

Free Contactless Payment Parking App

ParkMobile, the leading provider of smart parking and mobility solutions in the United States, has partnered with the Borough of Belmar, New Jersey, to allow residents and visitors to pay for parking through their mobile devices. The ParkMobile app will be available at approximately 400 spaces along the town’s beachfront area starting May 8th, 2020. With the recent COVID-19 crisis, many city leaders are encouraging residents to use the app to prevent the spread of the virus.

ParkMobile is a free app available for both iPhone and Android devices. To pay for parking with the app, a user enters the zone number posted on nearby signs, selects the amount of time needed and touches the “Start Parking” button to begin the session. The user can also extend the time of the parking session on their mobile device. In addition, the user can dial 877-727-5304 to initiate a payment. Beyond Belmar, the app can be used to pay for parking in over 400 cities across the United States.

ParkMobile has a large and growing audience in the state of New Jersey and in the Tri-State Area. There are almost 1.3 million users of the app across the state including Jersey City, Hoboken, New Brunswick, Asbury Park, Ocean City, Wildwood and more. ParkMobile can also be used to make parking reservations for concerts and sporting events at Prudential Center in Newark. Beyond New Jersey, the app can be used in cities along the Northeast corridor from Wasington, DC to Philadelphia to New York City.