TodayApril 15, 2022

European car companies helping with COVID-19

European car companies are racing to help caregivers on the road to health

Translated from Italian reporter Ilaria Salzano:

Europe: the automotive industry is ready to restart the engines. The Italian market is the worst hit.

The streets are deserted. The cars are stopped, sitting on the side of the road. The price of gasoline has dropped as never seen before. With the activities closed – the primary ones aside – each company is making its contribution to try to calm the infection.

FCA Bank and its subsidiary Leasys have made available to the Italian Red Cross (CRI) a fleet of 300 Fiat and Jeep cars. To these are added five ambulances based on Fiat Ducato to help counter the current health emergency. Thanks to the network of Leasys Mobility Stores in Italy, moreover, the volunteers of the Red Cross will be able to count on new support during the delivery of groceries and medicines in Italian cities to the most fragile people who currently need assistance.

The movement of doctors and nurses is being taken care of by Free Now and the petroleum company Q8: the new “Heroes” campaign assists three hundred volunteer taxi drivers, registered on the Free Now platform, to be accompanied at no cost thanks to the Q8 digital fuel vouchers for each dedicated race. Bank and its subsidiary Leasys have made available to the Italian Red Cross (Cri) a fleet of 300 Fiat and Jeep cars.

In addition to these, there are five ambulances on the Fiat Ducato base to help combat the current health emergency. Thanks to the network of Leasys Mobility Store in Italy, Red Cross volunteers will also be able to have new support during the delivery of groceries and medicines in Italian cities to the most fragile people in need of assistance at the moment.

“We are proud to support this FREE NOW initiative and thus to give our contribution in favor of the health personnel, at the forefront of this emergency – comments Giuseppe Zappalà, CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Italia – A concrete way to show our gratitude for their daily and heroic efforts in the fight against COVID-19. We believe in teamwork and in the social role of companies, values ​​that this initiative perfectly embodies.”

Another big support is coming from car manufacturers, which have suspended production to create devices useful for intensive care; an example is the Macchia d’Isernia plants of the Italian brand Dr reconverted to help in the emergency. The manufacturer purchased 500 masks from Decathlon and immediately transformed them into artificial respirators. An idea that pushed the sports brand to give 10,000 of them throughout Italy to the various Regions. Regions that – as Campania and Molise have already done – send them to DR Automobiles to be modified into artificial respirators and delivered to hospitals. Currently, the production capacity is 30 units per day, which will become 100 by the weekend.

Lamborghini is thinking of producing surgical masks and protective plexiglass shields by converting some parts of the factory, such as the internal finishes department. Everything will go to the Policlinico S. Orsola-Malpighi in Bologna, engaged in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Obviously, the race for respirators, open throughout Europe, has now expanded to the UK too. Here Ford, Airbus, Rolls Royce, and McLaren have joined the “Ventilator Challenge UK.”

“This project is a testament to the fantastic people who came together in just over fifteen days to provide a solution to the challenge we are facing,” spokesman Dick Elsy told the Sunday Telegraph. The National Health Service, which currently has 8,000 artificial respiration devices, crucial for people with pulmonary insufficiency, soon plans to announce 10,000 more, built by the consortium: the government will try to create at least 30,000 to treat infected patients. McLaren, from the Formula One, data, and electronics sector, is carrying out a series of tasks to help the population, including the creation of components: he is designing customized hospital trolleys to which devices will be attached in hospitals.

Skoda, in collaboration with the Czech Department of Computer Science, Robotics and Cybernetics (CIIRC) of the University of Prague, is also making its contribution by developing a 3D printing process for the production of reusable FFP3 respirators. Air ambulance services in the Midlands and Scotland are benefitting from generous gestures by Skoda and Suzuki.

Around 1,110,107 European workers employed in the automotive sector are currently affected by the sector’s shutdown. They don’t stop. The employment will be permanent if COVID-19 does not subside. From Germany, Mercedes Benz has given its availability “to produce medical devices” by making all the 3D printing processes of the Formula 1 department accessible: stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) to Selective Laser Melting ( SLM).

And last but not least, in Spain, in Martorell, where Leon is produced, today the assembly line is stopped, and assisted respirators are produced, in order to collaborate with the health system in a full crisis of COVID-19.

There are 150 employees from different areas who have changed their usual workplaces to devote themselves to assembling respirators. “The modification of an assembly line that produces a subframe, and the ability to transform it to produce the respirators, was a hard work in which many areas of the company were involved and we did it in record time, one week,” says Sergio Arreciado, from SEAT’s Process Engineering area.

Each respirator has over 80 electronic and mechanical components and undergoes comprehensive quality control with ultraviolet (UV) sterilization.

Car companies all over Europe are stepping up to help the road to recovery

  • Audi Russia offered its fleet to Moscow virus hospital (our head center)
  • In Finland, Opel gave a fleet of 100 cars to be used freely by the nursing staff.
  • Land Rover in the UK handed over their whole press fleet of new Defenders to the health service. Ford did the same in Spain while
  • Toyota and Hyundai helped out in Portugal.
  • Mazda also has their cars helping. Autoeuropa (VW) is producing masks and seat ventilators
  • Landrover Germany is supporting people who can not go out
  • DiscoverySport is being used free of charge until the end of the Easter holidays so that people can deliver groceries to the needy twice a week.
  • Elsewhere Land Rover is sending 143 vehicles worldwide to organizations like the International Red Cross and Red Crescent. The 143 vehicles include 57 brand new Defenders that will be used by the British Red Cross.
  • The Spanish Red Cross is using the Range Rover Velar
  • MG is supplying 100 ZS all-electric vehicles to Britain’s NHS free of charge for six months.
  • France’s PSA Group is part of a group of 30 industrial companies set on producing 10,000 respirators in 50 days.
Ilaria Salzano

Ilaria Salzano is a key reporter in the automotive sector, contributing mostly to La Repubblica, Italy's number one newspaper. Today she is an active collaborator and writes in the weekly and monthly supplement, participates in international previews and car shows. Having become an Italian Juror of Women's World Car of the Year, WWCOTY, she has a monthly column dedicated to businesswomen in the company's on Mission Fleet and collaborates weekly with Cosmopolitan Motors to show the car as a lifestyle and not as gender gap media.

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