Coronavirus & COVID-19 Automotive News FCA, Ford, Rockland, Mobility Support Solutions, GIS & GHS

In automotive COVID-19 and coronavirus news are car buyer concerns, FCA, Ford, Rockland, Mobility Support Solutions, GIS and GHS.

Election and COVID-19 Are Car Buyers Concerns

Despite rising COVID-19 cases in many states, concerns about the pandemic seem to be waning and, in many cases, are being replaced by concern over the upcoming presidential election. Among U.S. automobile dealers, 43% believe COVID-19 and the upcoming election are both equally concerning, according to a study released today by the Cox Automotive Research & Market Intelligence team.

Pandemic concern peaked in the second quarter and has been moving steadily downward since summer. Still, with 61% of consumers extremely or very concerned about COVID-19, the pandemic and resulting economic struggles continue to weigh heavily on the vehicle market. The most recent data from Cox Automotive indicates the percent of consumers in market for a new vehicle, at 14%, has dropped to the lowest level in 2020.

COVID-19: Tracking U.S. Consumer and Automotive Dealer Sentiment” is ongoing research from Cox Automotive designed to shed light on consumer and automobile dealer attitudes and behaviors during the pandemic. The research began in late March and has been updated regularly through mid-October. Key takeaways from the latest report include:

  1. Consumer concern over COVID-19 continues to decline. Concern over the pandemic peaked in April, with 71% of consumers extremely/very concerned. After dropping through the summer, consumer concern now stands at a still-high 61%. Financial concerns persist for many consumers as well, resulting in fewer shoppers in market. The auto market rebound that dealers were experiencing this summer has stalled.
  2. As the presidential election approaches, it’s occupying more mindshare with both consumers and dealers. Among auto dealers, 43% believe COVID-19 and the upcoming election are both equally concerning. In no great surprise, consumers are mostly split on how the outcome will impact them personally. Dealers are more definitive, with a larger percentage expecting better financial performance should the current administration prevail in the election.
  3. Uncertainty around COVID-19 continues to drive financial concern for many consumers and has amplified the need to evolve for some dealers. The prospect of another year like 2020 has consumers concerned for their financial stability, with 1 in 5 depleting their savings in 2021 should the pandemic continue. For dealers, it’s clear they are more open to considering new ways of doing business than ever before. Three out of four dealers are now conducting some of their business beyond their dealerships, embracing digital retail and service pick-up and delivery activities.


FCA Supporting Native Americans with PPE

Native American communities continue to grapple with the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, preparing for both winter and another potential spike in cases, grassroots organization Protect Native Elders has been busy delivering PPE with the help of partners like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).

FCA has been supporting Protect Native Elders efforts for several months. As part of the program, FCA has donated over 300,000 face masks and 30,000 face shields, that have been distributed to over 50 indigenous communities across the country. FCA also provided use of four Jeep® and Ram trucks to support the distribution of critical supplies and relief efforts.

Ford Warriors in Pink Gives Masks to Breast Cancer Patients

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ford Warriors in Pink is providing more than 700,000 masks to breast cancer patients, survivors and their families across the nation that can be worn to and from medical appointments to help protect them from COVID-19.

On Oct. 15, a Warriors in Pink-wrapped Ford Transit van will make local deliveries of 173,280 masks to Southeast Michigan treatment centers, including 100,000 masks to Henry Ford Health System centers across Southeast Michigan. Additional masks will be distributed to healthcare systems throughout the United States for a total of more than 700,000 masks donated.

On Oct. 13, Ford Warriors in Pink lit up Ford Field to support METAvivor in the fight against metastatic breast cancer. It is estimated more than 168,000 women are living with metastatic breast cancer in the U.S. Men can also have metastatic breast cancer. METAvivor is dedicated to increasing awareness of advanced breast cancer and to equity in research and patient support.

Ford has been dedicated to the fight against breast cancer for more than 26 years. Ford Warriors in Pink is dedicated to helping those touched by breast cancer through actions that support, inspire and empower patients, survivors and co-survivors throughout their journey.

With transportation one of the biggest barriers to treatment for patients, getting to and from appointments is a struggle that can directly impact the care they receive. To date, Ford has donated more than $138 million to the cause, with 100 percent of net proceeds from its inspirational clothing and accessories line dedicated to organizations that eliminate mobility barriers and help warriors move.

Rockland Debuts UVC Light for Gear Clear Venting

Rockland Custom Products, a leading pioneer in first responder health and safety solutions, announced that they have released their long-awaited UVC Germicidal Light for their Patented Gear Clear Venting System®. 

With hundreds already sold and in use in many of the nation’s most prestigious fire departments, the Gear Clear Venting System® has been protecting firefighters and their passengers from the harmful effects of toxic off-gassing emitted from their soiled turnout gear through its highly-effective active ventilation system. The addition of the UVC Light now allows Gear Clear to eliminate germs and contaminants on the surfaces inside the cabinet as well!

GIS Helps Veterans Cope with COVID-19

Millions of veterans and disabled Americans will receive free access to the largest nonpartisan database of COVID-19 information in the United States through a new partnership between Mobility Support Solutions and Global Institutional Solutions (GIS).

Available at no cost, the dynamically curated, non-biased and comprehensive COVID-19 resources span health, family, community and financial topics, including:

  • Roadmaps for individuals and families to prepare for COVID-19
  • Action plans for how to respond if someone becomes ill
  • Tips for managing care, family, quarantine and jobs while battling the virus
  • Support for restarting and refocusing during the pandemic

“Information and guidance on how to best protect yourself and your loved ones is changing constantly, and it can be challenging to keep up,” says Philip Gow, founding partner at Global Institutional Solutions. “Rather than having to gather scattered recommendations and conflicting information, this partnership provides an intuitive roadmap and resources for navigating daily life during this pandemic.”

There are 17.4 million veterans in the United States, according to the most recent statistics from the US Census, and 61 million Americans who identify as having a mobility challenge, according to the CDC. Mobility Support Solutions and Global Institutional Solutions hope to make life easier by helping this vulnerable population better meet the evolving daily challenges created by COVID-19.

“While we’re best known for our Mobility Roadside Assistance™, our team is passionate about providing solutions for all aspects of life for our community,” says Jim Speer, Mobility Support Systems founder. “Whether you’re stranded on the side of the road or figuring out how to cope with Coronavirus, you can rest easier knowing we’ll be here to support you when you need us.”

Teens’ Driving is Disrupted by COVID-19

A newly released surveyi of parents of U.S. teens conducted by Michelin North America, Inc. and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reveals that 62% say their child has experienced a COVID-19 related disruption in driver education/licensing, but 35% don’t have a backup plan for replacing lost learning.

“Michelin is committed to helping parents and teens prepare for the road in the safest way possible,” said Joanie Martin, chief administrative officer for Michelin North America, Inc. “Teaching a teen to drive is a key experience for almost every parent, so when we learned parents were facing added pressure due to the pandemic, we took action to help them fill the gap.”

Motor vehicle crashes remain the No. 1 killer of teens in America,ii and according to analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nearly 300,000 crashes involving young, inexperienced drivers are related to tire issues like worn treads and over- or under-inflation.iii

The survey polled parents of 15- to 17-year-old drivers who have a driver’s license, learner’s permit and/or were learning how to drive. Additional data underscores the need to equip parents with the tools to help their teens during a time that formal driving programs may not be widely available due to the pandemic.

  • More than half of parents (61%) have become more concerned about their teen’s safe driving skills during the pandemic, and about 9 in 10 (88%) worry their teen may be engaging in unsafe driving behaviors.
  • Parents in urban areas are particularly anxious: 82% of urban parents say they’ve become more concerned about their teen’s safe driving skills since the pandemic began compared to 50% of suburban and rural parents.
  • Further, 65% of parents in urban areas say their teens have faced pandemic-related delays in driver education/licensing versus 54% of suburban parents and 42% of rural parents.

“Parents are their teens’ No. 1 driving teacher and coach, but they often don’t recognize this or seek additional support,” said Pam Shadel Fischer, teen driving safety expert with GHSA. “As a parent, it’s important to ensure your teen is driving a safe vehicle, that you are knowledgeable about your state’s teen licensing requirements and the rules of the road, and that you seek out resources to help you help your teen driver build skills. This is critical as technology, licensing and driving laws and best practices continue to evolve.”

Before beginning behind-the-wheel training, teens need to understand the basics of routine vehicle maintenance. With extra time at home the past several months, 63% of parents are taking advantage of this opportunity to teach their teens about car maintenance. However, they are missing one of the most crucial safety components of their vehicles—tires. More than half (52%) of parents have not taught their teen how to check tire tread depth, while 35% have not taught their teen how to check air pressure.

“Parents are inundated with new and changing responsibilities as a result of the pandemic. While many things are out of their control, these simple steps performed monthly can help keep their teens safe and that’s checking their tires’ air pressure and tread depth,” Martin said.

To help fill the gap in formal training created by the pandemic, Michelin and GHSA are providing a fresh look at the basics:

  1. Hand placement guidance of 10 and 2 has been replaced with 9 and 3 (due to the airbag in the steering wheel). Some also subscribe to 8 and 4, as it’s a more comfortable position to maintain for a period of time. Consult your owner’s manual for the recommendation specific to your vehicle.
  2. GDL is an acronym parent and teens should know. It stands for Graduated Driver Licensing. Teen licensing requirements have changed from permit to full licensure, after completing a minimum holding period and passing a behind-the-wheel test, to a multi-step process or GDL that includes fulfilling numerous requirements. Many parents likely completed the former and may not know about their state’s GDL requirements. Learn more on your state DMV website.
  3. Many cars today have newer safety features. Airbags, height-adjustable seat belts, anti-lock brakes, electronic traction control, lane-keeping assist, automatic braking systems, backup cameras and more have made vehicles safer, but parents need to understand how these safety features work and ensure their teens do, too.
  4. Distraction isn’t a new safety problem; it’s been around since the advent of automobiles. However, popular apps are enabling real-time sharing all day, requiring parents and teens to be extra diligent to remain focused on the road, and not screens.

This survey and resource guide are a part of Michelin’s larger safety initiative, Beyond the Driving Test, which was first introduced in 2014 in partnership with Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). Through its corporate social responsibility program, Michelin offers life-saving tips to parents and teens and ensures each state provides consistent information about tire safety in new-driver training materials.