Ride-Hailing

Alto ride-hailing, delivery service app launches with salaried employees, SUV fleet

Alto cars are branded and easy to spot around town.

Photo courtesy of Alto

Under normal circumstances, ride-hailing is a daily part of life for folks shuttling to bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues in Fort Worth. But in these days of COVID-quarantine, the highlight of the day has become food delivery from a favorite restaurant.

Now a Dallas-based ride-share app is rolling into Fort Worth, Texas to do both. Alto will begin offering both ride-share and delivery in Fort Worth on Wednesday, April 15.

"Alto was founded with the mission of providing clean, safe, and consistent rides. Today, those same tenets are more important than ever before, not only for rides but also for deliveries," says CEO Will Coleman, who co-founded Alto in January 2019. "While our city, our state, and our country are under orders to stay at home, we know that Alto's ability to deliver everyday essentials in a clean and safe way is critical to keeping our local economy running."

That's why we've decided to accelerate our expansion plans and launch Alto's service in Fort Worth. Effective immediately, even more North Texans will have access to Alto's delivery service during this unprecedented time of need."

As a ride-share app (available for either iPhone or Android), Alto touts itself as a safer, more consistent approach to hailing a ride. Its fleet of new SUVs is driven by employees who receive salaries and benefits. Each car is branded with the Alto logo (so riders can be sure they're stepping into the right vehicle), and cloud-based cameras capture both interior and exterior videos of the ride.

While anyone can use the app, memberships make rides more economical for regular users. It costs $12.95 per month to access the service, which then unlocks fares that are 30-50 percent lower and per-ride pricing that never surges, the company says.

Concierge from Alto is a newer, personal-shopping service. Users set a pickup and drop-off location, provide a detailed shopping list, book a concierge, and then wait for the items to be delivered.

And The Market from Alto now lets users purchase a bundle of produce or other curated "Quarantine Essential Kits" presented on the website and app. Options include a fresh fruit bundle from local farmers ($27), a pack of Wagyu center-cut strip steaks from Rosewood Ranches ($79), a 24-pack of Topo Chico ($29), Wine-O-Clock Somewhere Bundle ($70), and more. They're working on adding some Fort Worth options to the mix, they say.

Alto can deliver takeout meals and meal kits (including alcohol) from local restaurants, too. For more information on services, hours, pricing, and more, visit their website.

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This story originally appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site, CultureMap.

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Owners of 2020 and 2021 model year Infiniti vehicles will be eligible.

Infiniti

Apple CarPlay is a great feature that can add maps, streaming audio, and voice controls to even base model vehicles that would otherwise lack such technology. It also offers a standardized interface that works similarly to a smartphone's built-in software, so there's no confusion about how to operate the system. Until recently, users had to have their phones physically tethered to the vehicle with a wired connection, but many automakers have begun offering wireless connectivity. Infiniti is one of them, but in an unusual step, the company says that it will upgrade older model year vehicles with the technology at no cost.

Infiniti Wireless Apple CarPlay The upgrades will be free for owners.Infiniti

This means that if you own a 2020 or 2021 Q50, Q60, QX50, or QX80, you are eligible for the upgrade. Wireless Apple CarPlay became available for Infiniti vehicles starting with the 2022 model year, so it's a new feature for the automaker. The first model to support the feature was the 2022 QX55 and the new 2022 QX80 will offer the tech with its 12.3-inch touchscreen system. The 2022 Q50 and Q60 will both leave the factory with the feature, as will the upcoming QX60.

It's unclear how or if the upgrade will affect other vehicle systems, but it's a worthy move for anyone who owns a 2020 or 2021 Infiniti vehicle, if only to boost resale value down the road. Cars such as the 2021 Q50 came standard with a dual-screen infotainment system and wired Apple CarPlay, so the ability to go wireless would be a big bonus for some drivers.

Infiniti Wireless Apple CarPlay Owners have until March 31, 2022 to complete the upgrade.Infiniti

If you own a 2020 or 2021 Infiniti model, you have until March 31, 2022, to complete the upgrade. Infiniti says its dealers will perform the update at no cost to owners, so make your appointments now. The automaker has not announced plans to offer wireless Android Auto.

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Honda notified dealers of upcoming supply cuts.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda, like all major automakers today, is truly a global operation. Though it produces plenty of vehicles here in the United States, many of the components it relies on for manufacturing come from elsewhere in the world. That means Honda, like the other auto giants, needs its global supply chain operating smoothly in order to prevent disruption. Unfortunately for Honda dealers and potential customers, disruption is what's about to happen. The automaker recently sent a letter to its dealers, forecasting reduced vehicle supply in the coming weeks.


2021 Honda Ridgeline No. 19 - Honda Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc


The dealer letter, posted to the Civic XI forum and fan site, was dated August 25 and confirmed by a dealer upset with the development, according to Automotive News. In the letter, Honda cites the ongoing pandemic and microchip shortages as major factors impacting its production efforts. Total shipments to dealers could be cut by up to 40 percent, but not all models will be affected to the same degree.

The letter noted that supplies of the Pilot and Passport SUVs will hold steady, and shared that production of the Civic hatchback is on schedule. However, the situation is fluid and could change at any time, so there's a chance that timelines could speed up or slack off as necessary.


2022 Honda Pilot Some models will see more cuts than others.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc


Honda is just the latest in a long line of automakers struggling to keep pace with demand in the face of several converging global crises. In an effort to keep vehicles rolling out of factories, General Motors has implemented selective feature cuts in some of its new vehicles, such as the removal of engine start/stop tech from some trucks and SUVs. Earlier this month, Ford Motor Company told Mustang Mach-E buyers to expect delays of at least six weeks as it grapples with the chip shortage, and will temporarily reduce production capacity at a few of its plants.

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