In COVID-19 coronavirus automotive news are Ford, Auros IQ, Motus, Proguard, RepairPal, Daimler Omniplus, The Harford Group Edmunds and Kia Motors.
Ford Uses Auros IQ
As states and countries begin to reopen their economies, corporations are focused on Return to Work efforts. With requirements and policies changing frequently, managing documents requires significant effort to communicate content changes, as well as produce management reports.
At Ford Motor Company, Auros IQ was quickly identified as the platform to capture, distribute and report compliance to policies early in their Return to Work initiative.
Using Auros IQ, Ford Motor Company can distribute changes in policies, ensuring employees always have up to date information, while streamlining the production of management reports.
“With the importance of workforce health and safety in mind, we’re pleased to be able to support Ford’s Return to Work efforts, helping ensure their employees and facilities remain safe.” – Josh Kullis, Technical Services Manager and Knowledge Aware Consultant at Auros Knowledge Systems.
Motus Team Remains Remote
Motus, the definitive leader in reimbursement solutions for businesses with mobile-enabled workforces, announced its team members will remain fully remote permanently as the company embraces the future of work. In order to make this transition successful, Motus is partnering with restaurant groups, wellness providers and more to develop innovative programs tailored to building culture and collaboration among a remote team. Headquartered in Boston with offices in Chicago and Milwaukee, Motus has had its team members working in a remote capacity since early March.
While a lack of social interaction with colleagues was a leading obstacle for remote work, Motus is taking inventive steps to maintain a sense of team cohesion and strong culture while its team continues to work remote. To date, this has included a Find-Your-Own-Balance movement, #MotusFYOB, engaging team members and their families as well as partners and customers with entertainment, exercise and advice across digital channels. In the future, it will expand to include in-person opportunities including physical meeting spaces and events.
Motus has developed a two-phase approach for the permanent work anywhere transition. The first phase, while public health concerns persist, will include resources such as sponsored time management coaching to help team members develop a tailored personal strategy, company provided mental health resources including one-on-one sessions with therapists to adjust to a remote work environment, and virtual events that will feature a speaker series and concerts through vendors like AirBnB. Motus is also offering enhanced reimbursement for business use of a designated office space, flexible work schedules with the possibility of flexible work weeks and “no meeting” blocks, a full technology setup, and a one-time office stipend for team members to purchase office furniture.
Once public health concerns lessen, Motus will shift to the second phase of its transition. Phase two will include in-person meet-ups and events orchestrated in partnership with restaurant groups to help fill their unused spaces. It will also incorporate optional office venues through corporate partnerships in cities with Motus cohorts; coworking memberships for team members in cities without a Motus office presence; and experience-based destination summits for team retreats, company gatherings, onboarding and training sessions in unique locations.
ProGuard Partners with RepairPal
ProGuard Warranty announced that they have formed a partnership with RepairPal to bring their network of Certified repair facilities to ProGuard’s base of independent and franchise dealers across the United States. With vehicle service contract companies and auto repair facilities ranking as some of the most distrusted industries by consumers, the two companies are committed to working together to change this reputation by providing transparency and higher levels of quality in auto repair.
Motus decided to make the shift to work from home permanently after conducting an expansive employee engagement study that included surveys, interviews and focus groups. Results showed a trend towards remote work prior to the enactment of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, as less than half (47%) of Motus team members spent a majority of their time in the office before the implementation of isolation measures. Respondents cited the absence of a commute and additional time for personal pursuits as the top reasons for working from home. Additionally, 80% of Motus team members reported the current shift to full-time remote work has not caused a negative impact on their productivity.
The timing of the partnership reflects ProGuard’s expectations of the effects COVID-19 will have on car ownership going forward. “We recognized the current economic crisis would force many people to keep their vehicles longer and wanted to ensure our customers had a source of reliable technicians to get their cars repaired quickly and correctly,” said Dominic Limongelli, President of ProGuard Warranty. “For our dealerships without service facilities, it was critical to have access to a trustworthy network of shops that are dedicated to helping their customers throughout the ownership of their vehicles. Not only does RepairPal offer the largest nationwide network of auto repair shops in the U.S., but we felt their product offering added to the value we bring to our customers.”
RepairPal Certified Shops must undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a team of auto experts in order to receive certification. ProGuard customers can take their vehicle to any participating RepairPal Certified Shop and be guaranteed that repairs will be completed at fair prices with quality parts. They also have access to RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator,™ an online tool that educates consumers about the cost of repairs in advance of any actual service. To further boost confidence and trust, customers are provided with analytics to confirm that their vehicle is being well maintained.
This dovetails well with ProGuard’s goal to offer plans that protect the customer and the dealer’s reputation by delivering the best service experience every time. “We design our plans to protect the consumer and cover everything from the core components to the advanced technology that makes up so much of today’s vehicles,” explained Limongelli. “Getting customers back in their vehicle as quickly as possible is very important to us and we are constantly enhancing our claims processes to improve turnaround times. We’ve recently incorporated the use of video in the claim approval process; enabling service facilities to review the diagnosis with our ASE certified adjustors to keep the claim moving without tying up bays. We’re always looking for new ways to improve efficiencies in order to create satisfied customers.”
Omniplus Service from Daimler Strict Disinfection Rules
‘Safety first’ is one of the most important principles for the bus brands Mercedes-Benz and Setra from Daimler Buses. In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, customer services must take particular care in order to minimise the risk of infection. That is why the Omniplus service brand from Daimler Buses has now specified strict rules for the protection against infection for all its own operations in Germany.
“The health of our customers, their passengers and our employees is our top priority,” Ulrich Bastert, Head of Marketing, Sales and Customer Services at Daimler Buses emphasises. “Accordingly, the requirements are strict when a Mercedes-Benz or Setra bus comes into our workshop for servicing or repairs. Our employees in each Service Centre take great care that the risk of virus infection is minimised,” Bastert continues.
Professional driver’s cab door with partition screen
The safety of city and inter-city bus drivers is also given the highest priority at Daimler Buses. For this reason both brands, Mercedes-Benz and Setra, are offering a driver’s cab door with a full-width partition. These retrofit solutions made of safety glass or high-quality polycarbonate are available for the Mercedes-Benz Citaro and the Setra LE business and are in the preparation phase for other model series.
Customers can choose between completely closed versions or variants with openings for ticket sales and cut-outs for an integrated ticket counter. The driver’s cab doors comply with all legal specifications and allow the bus driver an unobstructed view of the right-hand outside mirror through the windscreen as well as the inside rearview mirror at all times.
Omniplus On eShop: accurate ordering of replacement parts for buses online
At present bus companies benefit particularly from Omniplus On commerce and the associated Omniplus On eShop. With just a few clicks it provides direct and fast access to the complete range of spare parts. Particularly in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic when personal contacts are reduced to a minimum, this is a valuable service for safeguarding the procurement of spare parts.
The Omniplus On eShop offers the complete product portfolio of the Mercedes-Benz and Setra brands. Furthermore, even the individual fleet of each bus company is integrated into the eShop. The eShop’s range also includes specified spare parts for selected vehicles. With just one click it’s possible to see availability at your preferred Service Centre. Customers can find those spare parts that are in greatest demand via the QuickCollect access option. The parts are clearly represented in 14 general parts categories.
Thorough cleaning and ventilation reduce the risk of infection
This begins with receiving the vehicle outdoors without direct contact in the Service Centre’s yard. Inside the building floor markings in the customer contact area help everyone to maintain the prescribed social distancing. All of the areas are being cleaned more frequently and disinfectant dispensers are available. Ordered spare parts are handed over by placing them on a counter.
No matter whether it’s the vehicle key, the steering wheel or operating buttons – all of the bus parts that are touched are cleaned thoroughly. Above all, the employees ventilate the vehicles thoroughly – always for 20 minutes outdoors prior to moving the vehicle and also before handing the bus back over to the customer. Anyone who wishes to dispense with the journey to the Service Centre can use the collection and delivery service.
Vehicle Buying Changing with Pandemic
Urban Science and The Harris Poll released data and insights today from a June 2020 study of 1,505 consumers indicating that 61% of consumers agree that the entire vehicle purchase process will change forever due to COVID-19.
More than three-quarters (78%) see some benefit to shopping for a new vehicle entirely online versus in-person, with about a third or more citing less pressure from salespeople (38%) and the convenience (37%) or safety (32%) of not having to leave the home. Though they see the benefits, even more (93%) express some concern with an entirely online new vehicle purchase process.
“It’s important to note that one-third of consumers (36%) agree that there is no reason to ever visit a car dealership again,” said Simon Bradley, Global Practice Director, Network at Urban Science. “While this sentiment could change as we return back to normal, this potentially indicates alternative retail formats may play a role in changing consumer sentiment. The provision of safe, trusted locations to interact with vehicles of interest and the opportunity to have questions answered from a neutral brand representative could help motivate consumers.”
Further, 71% agree that they would limit the number of dealerships they visited if they were purchasing a new vehicle right now due to health and safety concerns. Long-term, a quarter of adults think fewer people will do in-person test drives before buying/leasing (27%) and that more people will be willing to use virtual or augmented reality to experience a vehicle (25%) with nearly one-third (31%) believing sales departments will do more mobile visits to customers’ homes.
“It’s very clear that trust will be earned in new ways, and that a number of the adaptations the public has made during the pandemic are here to stay,” said Wendy Salomon, Managing Director, Corporate Strategy at The Harris Poll. “In automotive and elsewhere, companies must seek new, unique sources of value that build on the recalibrations we’re seeing.”
Finally, even once the pandemic subsides, over half say having dealership sanitation measures in place both within each vehicle (55%) and throughout the building (54%) are must haves to help customers feel safe when visiting the dealership.
This is survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll in partnership with Urban Science from June 2-9, 2020 among 1,505 adults age 18+. Results are weighted to be representative of this population. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
The Hartford Extends Payback Program
The Hartford is extending its COVID-19 Personal Auto Payback Plan through June. The plan originally provided customers with a 15 percent credit on their April and May personal auto insurance premiums. Extending the plan through June brings the total amount the company will distribute to its customers to approximately $80 million.
“We are pleased to continue to provide additional relief to our customers during the pandemic,” said The Hartford’s President Doug Elliot. “Although parts of the country are reopening, many of our personal auto customers are still spending much less time on the road than they did before the pandemic began. We believe our customers should benefit from the overall decrease in miles driven and accidents.”
The Hartford will continue to work with state insurance departments to make these additional credits available as quickly as possible. The company intends to issue the credit to all personal auto insurance customers with policies in force as of June 1, 2020. No action is needed from customers, the credit will occur automatically.
Edmunds Stats Show Increased Used Vehicle Sales
Unique market conditions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could be driving more consumers out of the new market and into used vehicles, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. Edmunds analysts note that June used vehicle finance figures and Edmunds website data indicate shifts in shopping behavior that are not usual for the used vehicle market and could point to more typical new car shoppers entering the fray:
- Reduced interest rates. Edmunds data shows that interest rates for used vehicles dropped to the lowest level since January 2018, with the average annual percentage rate (APR) falling to 7.8% in June, compared to 8.3% in May and 8.6% a year ago.
- Bigger down payments. The average used down payment climbed to $3,167 in June, surpassing $3,000 for the first time that Edmunds has on record dating back to 2007.
- Less negative equity. Edmunds data reveals that 26.3% of used vehicle sales with a trade-in had negative equity in June, the lowest level so far in 2020.
- Increased cross-shopping of used vehicles. According to Edmunds website data, more new shoppers are cross-shopping used vehicles than before COVID-19. Twenty-nine percent of new vehicle shoppers between mid-May and mid-June also considered used, compared to 24% between mid-January and early March.
“More consumers are looking for value in their next car purchase due to the economic challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, so the more favorable loan conditions we’re seeing are likely a direct result of more consumers with good credit shifting into the used market,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “Thanks to a shortage of new vehicle inventory, more automakers and dealers have leaned into promoting attractive certified pre-owned programs, which might be driving more typical new car shoppers into the used market.”
Edmunds data also reveals that the share of used vehicle purchases with a vehicle trade-in dropped in June to the lowest level since February 2009, which experts say could also be indicative of another trend emerging due to COVID-19: more first-time buyers.
Kia Motors Combats COVID-19
In the face of extraordinary challenges posed by an unprecedented public health crisis, Kia Motors is joining the global effort to combat COVID-19.
Kia recognizes the sacrifices made by healthcare professionals and volunteers globally, and is providing fleets of vehicles to frontline personnel to facilitate mobility at a time when they need it most.
The company is also working closely with governments to support communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic in the form of financial donations and provision of medical and personal protection equipment.
Kia has also established a range of national and international after sales service programs to offer peace of mind to customers who may be facing financial strains or mobility restrictions during this time.
Finally, the company has introduced a range of measures to create a safe working environment for its employees in all regions to ensure their health and safety throughout this time.
Our efforts around the world
- ‘Kia Promise’ global warranty and service interval extension program
- Payment deferral program*
- Digital showroom and online vehicle purchase platform*
- Free vehicle disinfection service*
- Building disinfection and provision of personal sanitation items*
- Employee blood drive and fundraising*
*Implemented in select countries, where available
Africa and Middle East
- Live Stream Showroom launched, offering customers one-on-one digital consultation with dealers to explore design and features of vehicles from their homes in countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Pakistan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia
- Campaign to raise COVID-19 awareness, providing guidance to avoid infection and fun stay-at-home ideas for customers in countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Oman
- Fleet of vehicles and funds provided to assist mobility of food and supplies in Canada through #PowerToGive partnership with Food Banks Canada
- Donation of face shields to Public Health Canada for medical facilities in Canada
- Fleet of vehicles provided to Red Cross to assist rescue efforts in Colombia
- Assembly and donation of ventilators for hospitals in Ecuador
- Donation of personal protective equipment for healthcare professionals in Mexico
- Expert consultation established in Mexico to support local government’s pandemic response in line with that of the Korean government
- Protective face shields produced at Georgia manufacturing plant and delivered to Georgia Emergency Management Agency and other medical facilities nationwide, and donation of funds to the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Foundation Emergency Response Fund in U.S.
- Delivery of face shields to medical facilities nationwide by “Tellurider” volunteers under Kia’s Accelerate The Good initiative in U.S.
- Donation to aid homeless youth population during pandemic in U.S.
- Support for healthcare workers in China, including donation of medical supplies and introduction of special discounts
- Production and donation of masks to communities, customers, suppliers, dealers, and employees in China
- Donation of emergency supplies and funds to local governments and medical facilities in China
- Donation of funds to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Relief Fund in India
- Donation of masks and protection equipment for medical staff in India
- Training center buildings provided as treatment facility in Korea
- Free maintenance of vehicles for at-risk groups in Korea
- Donation of supplies for online schooling to underprivileged students, and personal protection items to local residents in Korea
- Recovery support for customers and local communities through #KiaMovingWithYou initiative, which includes supplying fleets of vehicles, donating funds to support healthcare services and charities, and creating fun stay-at-home activities for customers across Europe
- Fleet of vehicles provided for transport of seniors and children and delivery of food and medicine in Czech Republic
- Fleet of vehicles provided to Red Cross and local hospitals to support mobility of healthcare workers in France
- Fleet of vehicles provided to medical center to support mobility of healthcare workers in Hungary
- Fleet of vehicles provided to support grocery deliveries to at-risk groups through the #Italiakiama initiative in Italy
- Donation of disinfectant to support young children, their families, and medical staff in Poland
- Fleet of vehicles provided to support mobility of volunteers delivering food and basic necessity items to people in self-isolation at home, and donation to #MyVmeste fund in Russia
- Donation of funds, masks, and medical equipment to Red Cross, University Hospital in Martin, and other organizations in Slovakia
- Fleet of vehicles provided to hospitals under the #YoCedoMiCoche initiative to promote safer mobility for healthcare workers in Spain
- Solidarity challenge #1eurodesdecasa launched with brand ambassador Paquito Navarro to donate one euro for each video published with the hashtag on Instagram in Spain
- Fleet of vehicles provided to support mobility of healthcare workers and to enable restaurant deliveries in Sweden
- Creation of fun social media coloring activities with drawings of Kia vehicles for families staying at home in countries such as France, Poland, Spain, and U.K.