Coronavirus & COVID-19 Automotive News: Auto Nation, U.S. DOT, Auto Care Association, Lear Corp. & Ford

In Coronavirus COVID-19 automotive news today are Auto Nation, U.S. Dot, Auto Care Association, Lear Corporation and Ford Motor Company.

Free Vehicle Sanitation on Tuesdays for First Responders from Auto Nation

AutoNation, is offeringFREE Vehicle Sanitization for First Responders every Tuesday beginning June 16, 2020 until August 25, 2020.

First Responders are encouraged to stop by any AutoNation store on Tuesdays from 1-4 PM for a FREE EPA-approved sanitization treatment of their personal or work vehicle.

The process is easy. First Responders should stop by any AutoNation service drive, show their current First Responder credentials, and sit back and relax.

In less than 30 minutes they’ll drive off in their vehicle that’s been sanitized with an EPA-approved disinfectant registered for use against Covid-19.

Feds Send Mask to Transit Co.s

The Federal government announced nearly 100 million cloth facial coverings will be sent to the aviation, transit, and passenger rail transportation sectors for passenger use. Approximately 86.8 million coverings will be distributed to airports, and 9.6 million coverings will be distributed to 458 transit agencies and Amtrak for passenger use.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), alongside the U.S. the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, have been working with states, industries, and stakeholders to ensure that the traveling public has access to cloth facial coverings. The cloth facial coverings secured by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be sent to airports, transit agencies, and Amtrak over the coming weeks through the U.S. Postal Service.

The allotment of nearly 100 million cloth facial coverings announced today for passenger use is in addition to the over 15 million cloth facial coverings previously announced for critical infrastructure workers in the transportation sector.

Passengers are still responsible for having their own facial covering per existing guidance from airlines, airports, transit agencies, and passenger rail authorities. The cloth facial coverings announced today are intended to be supplemental. Availability at these locations is not guaranteed.

In response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency, DOT has focused on keeping transportation systems safe and operational so America’s economy can come back strong. Response measures have included stakeholder outreach and guidance, expanded federal financial assistance, and regulatory relief.

Navisite Help AAA Go Home Working

Navisite announced today that following a fast deployment of its desktop as a service (DaaS) solution, AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) has successfully enabled hundreds of employees to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, while ensuring continued, uninterrupted service to its more than 880,000 members in Upstate New York.

The accelerated project took place in March in response to a work-from-home state mandate that forced the member services association to find a solution for its entire workforce within days. With the help of Navisite, AAA WCNY created a highly scalable virtual desktop environment and proven model that can scale to meet future demand.

Auto Care Association’s Post COVD-19 Report

The Auto Care Association today released its award-winning and industry-leading online publications, the 2021 Auto Care Factbook and the 2021 Auto Care Factbook & Lang Annual. The new editions of these annual reports come at an unprecedented time as the auto care industry is just beginning to recover from the global economic effects of COVID-19. This edition, more than any other in its 30-year history, serves as a vital resource that provides the latest and most critical data and insights that aftermarket businesses need right now to make informed, data-driven decisions for their bottom lines and their future.

The 2021 Auto Care Factbook includes industry analysis in light of the pandemic and stay-at-home orders that have impacted driving behavior and, consequently, vehicle maintenance, repair and purchases. Despite the downward forecast for the industry’s performance in 2020, the industry continues to be a pillar of the U.S. economy, projected at $380 billion for the year and expected to rebound in 2021, reaching $448.9 billion in 2023.

New this year, Auto Care Association members accessing the Factbook will be able to access up-to-date data in the new TrendLens™ interactive data platform. There, members can drill down on data points, and filter and overlay with other data sets to get the full picture of the industry.

In the 30th edition of the Auto Care Factbook, readers will find:

  • Updated “Key Economic Indicators 2015–2019” and COVID-19 outlook by Northwood University (p. 6-7);
  • Impact and Sentiment of COVID-19 on the U.S. Aftermarket (p. 10-11);
  • An extended Industry Forecast through 2023, including COVID-19 impact, by IHS Markit (p. 14-15);
  • An updated “Global Automotive Aftermarket Review” by Jefferies, factoring in the COVID-19 impact on the industry (p. 24-41);
  • Delayed Maintenance, Market Potential and Time to Market by IMR Inc. (p. 50-51);
  • Insights on the Automotive Aftermarket in India (p. 100-101);

“Over the course of our more than 100 years as an association, the Auto Care Association has been providing products and services to the industry to help our members succeed,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “In times of uncertainty, having the appropriate data is critical to finding clarity and making informed decisions. This year’s edition of the Factbook provides key data on COVID-19 impacts and implications that our industry needs to confidently navigate the road to recovery.”

DIY and e-commerce are growing during the pandemic, further indicating an accelerated shift to digital in the auto care industry and its ability to adapt to consumer demands. Early indicators show that that the average age of vehicles on U.S. roads will continue to rise as consumers hold on to their aging vehicles during economic uncertainty. Miles driven, while disrupted due to stay-at-home orders, started seeing the first signs of recovery in mid-April.

The 2021 Auto Care Factbook & Lang Annual includes the Auto Care Factbook plus the Lang Annual, which provides a supplemental, comprehensive overview of the U.S. light vehicle aftermarket and presents information and analysis available from no other source.

All Auto Care Association contacts at member companies receive a complimentary digital copy of the 2021 Auto Care Factbook report as a member benefit. The non-member price for the publication is $1,950. The Auto Care Factbook & Lang Annual report can be purchased for $995 for members and $2,995 for non-members.

Lear Corp Makes Up to 1/2 Million Face Masks Per Week

Lear Corporation a global automotive technology leader in Seating and E-Systems, today announced that it has added new equipment to its operations in Pine Grove, Pa., to make up to 500,000 protective face masks per week.

The Pine Grove facility is among 10 Lear plants on three continents that are now producing masks for front line workers, local communities and company employees to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition to Pine Grove’s output, company employees are currently producing 600,000 masks at other global locations each week. Lear’s facility in Mocksville, N.C., is also making face shields, including about 60,000 units in April.

“Adding production capacity at our Pine Grove facility is the most recent action we have taken to use our available manufacturing and technology resources to quickly and effectively address the health care crisis worldwide,” said Ray Scott, Lear President and CEO.

Employees at the Pine Grove facility completed training to operate the mask-making machines, while also practicing new health and safety protocols from Lear’s Safe Work Playbook, including wearing personal protective equipment, and following social distancing procedures.

“We are incredibly grateful to our team members at the Pine Grove facility for their efforts to produce these critical products for frontline heath care workers, and first responders as well as their fellow employees,” said Scott. “As the world combats this virus, we remain committed to making personal protective equipment, prioritizing the health and safety of our employees, and supporting the communities where we live and work.”

Ford Offers Telecommute Summer Internships

Keeping people safe and helping limit the spread of the coronavirus won’t prevent Ford from providing more than 600 students valuable professional experience through the company’s annual summer internship program.

The 2020 internship class will telecommute to work, just as Ford employees across the country are doing as the company goes about its business differently amid the pandemic.

College students from around the United States are hired every summer into Ford’s internship program, where they work for several weeks in connected vehicles, design, marketing and a host of other departments. When the pandemic led some companies to postpone or cancel internship programs, Ford asked itself, “How might we do it differently?” – and found a way to keep it going.

“Internships are a valuable learning experience and these students are a great pipeline for future Ford talent,” said Lena Allison, Ford U.S. talent acquisition and onboarding lead. “It was important that we quickly redesign the internship program so we could still provide a meaningful learning experience and get to know them as potential future hires.”

Ford will ship laptop computers and headsets to interns so they can work from home. Start dates for the internships began this month, with students participating in virtual orientation on their first day. Their eight-week summer projects will provide a new type of hands-on experience in a virtual workplace. Interns will still have regular check-ins with their supervisors and skill teams, and the program will include numerous virtual social events.

Katlyn Stone, an undergraduate studying computer science at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, is returning for her second internship with Ford. Her assignment with the connected vehicles team is designed to give her experience as a full-fledged software engineer.

“I was relieved and excited when I learned Ford is continuing its intern program,” said Stone. “I had a great experience last year and am looking forward to learning more.” Stone and her fellow interns will gain valuable work experience and establish new connections through the program, just as they would under normal circumstances.

“Working from home the last few months has taught us that we can definitely provide a fulfilling virtual intern experience,” said Allison. “Interns will get a sense of the Ford culture, build connections with their peers and other Ford team members, and gain great professional experience.”