Friday, April 17
-- The first critical care ventilators produced by GM and Ventec Life Systems in Kokomo, Ind., are being delivered by UPS to Franciscan Health Olympia Fields in Olympia Fields, Ill., and Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago. -- GM
-- In a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ford Motor Co. said it expects to post a first quarter net loss of $2 billion. The filing updated financial guidance given earlier in the week, which did not include a net income/loss figure. -- Ford Motor Co.
AutoWeb gets federal help: Dealership marketing company Autoweb said Friday it received close to $1.4 million from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, part of the $2 trillion federal coronavirus stimulus package. Autoweb will be able to defer principal and interest payments for the first six months, the company said in a news release. Autoweb previously said it froze hiring and developed a plan to manage operations, business continuity, communication with clients and technology in response to the coronavirus, as retail customers began suspending their marketing campaigns. The company will maintain employment, CEO Jared Rowe said. -- Lindsay VanHulle
Looking for a helping hand: The Do-Good Auto Coalition, a new initiative to link the auto industry with people seeking assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak, is in need of vehicles and volunteers to deliver food to charitable organizations helping people during the coronavirus pandemic. Diana Lee, CEO of New York-based Constellation Agency and an organizer of the coalition, said she is looking for help from dealerships and automakers who can serve as the missing link between farmers, growers and restaurant suppliers - who have unused food going to waste while businesses are shut down and Americans largely stay home - and food-rescue organizations and charities helping people struggling to make ends meet during the crisis. Lee said while some dealerships have volunteered with the coalition, many have furloughed their employees; she is asking automakers also to join the coalition to supply at least six cars and 10 volunteers needed on a daily basis. "We could use them every day at this point," Lee said. To help, visit the coalition's website. -- Lindsay VanHulle
-- Many automakers and suppliers in Michigan have pivoted toward producing parts for ventilators and personal protective equipment in the fight against coronavirus. Crain's Detroit Business has a list. -- Crain's Detroit Business
Thursday, April 16
-- The federal government will pay Ford and General Electric $336 million to jointly build 50,000 ventilators by July 13, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. -- DHHS
CDK avoids furloughs: CDK Global Inc. this week said it plans to avoid employee furloughs or layoffs through at least May 31. CEO Brian Krzanich wrote this week in a letter to employees that the Hoffman Estates, Ill., dealership management system giant will be able to "absorb the financial impact of this decision." The company did not rule out job action past the end of May. "As we have all seen and heard many global organizations have been forced to take both short- and long-term action to ensure the sustainability of their companies. Among the most common actions are furloughs and temporary layoffs," Krzanich wrote. "While we are facing the same challenges, we have decided that, at least through May 31, we are committed to avoiding furloughs or temporary layoffs as a consequence of the COVID-19 economic downturn." CDK has taken steps in recent weeks to preserve cash, including pausing vendors' service and adjusting payment terms, slowing hiring and postponing some initiatives, Krzanich wrote. Krzanich last month said he will reduce his salary and cash bonuses to $1 for the rest of 2020 and waive or reduce some fees for CDK's dealership customers. CDK has not yet announced when it will report its fiscal third-quarter earnings, but financial results are anticipated as soon as next month. -- Lindsay VanHulle
Dealers' outlook: The California New Car Dealers Association said in a new survey of its dealership members that 34 percent reported sales had fallen by 80 percent to 100 percent since the COVID-19 outbreak accelerated in California last month. That compares to 40 percent in a previous survey as of March 30. The association, which represents 1,400 dealerships, said 288 stores participated in the survey as of April 10. Other findings include:
- More than 97 percent of dealerships surveyed said their stores were open, with more than 80 percent saying they have improved their ability to sell online and deliver vehicles.
- More than 56 percent of participating dealerships had laid off up to 60 employees. That is up from more than 10 percent in a previous survey.
- Fifty-seven dealerships said their operations could be sustained for another one to three months as of April 10, down from more than 130 in the prior survey. CNCDA said more than 85 percent of responding dealerships applied for aid through the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
-- Lindsay VanHulle
Mazda pledges $5 million for health care workers: Mazda is offering free oil changes and enhanced car cleaning to health care workers through its U.S. dealership network, regardless of make or model of the vehicle, and has pledged $5 million for the program, the company said. Essential Car Care, developed with Mazda dealers, includes a standard oil change plus interior and exterior cleaning using EPA-approved cleaners, the automaker said. The program runs from April 16 to May 4, and eligible recipients include hospital workers, mental health providers, medical testing technicians, public health agency workers, telehealth providers and employees of blood banks, Mazda said. There are some restrictions for exotic, classic and off-road vehicles. -- Laurence Illiff
Wednesday, April 15
-- The Mexican unit of Honda said on Tuesday it would extend a suspension of operations at its plants in the states of Guanajuato and Jalisco until April 30 due to the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak. -- Reuters
Honda to manufacture ventilator compressors: American Honda will soon be manufacturing compressors for the medical ventilators that are needed for the hardest-hit coronavirus patients.
Rick Schostek, executive vice president at Honda North America, said in a commentary on Linkedin that the automaker has transformed a technical center in Marysville, Ohio, into an assembly area for diaphragm vacuum compressors developed by Dynaflo Inc. The goal, Schostek said, is to produce 10,000 compressors a month.
Honda, which has donated personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks from its inventory, has also been producing face-shield frames using 3D printers at five different facilities. The equipment is being donated to healthcare workers and first responders, the executive said.
The company has also donated $1 million to food banks and meal programs across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and is providing matching funds for donations made by employees to food programs in their local communities up to $1,000 for each individual contribution. – Laurence Iliff