COVID-19

New Avis, Budget rental car cleaning strategy partnerships tackle coronavirus transmission

The brands of Avis Budget Group are employing new cleaning strategies.

Photo courtesy of Avis Budget Group

Rental cars pose a unique cleaning challenge. Drivers are switching in and out of vehicles then driving them to who knows where, interacting with who knows who, and stopping at who knows how many places along the way. All for a relatively short period of time.

That's a lot of possible exposure to the coronavirus, which is why Avis Budget Group (ABG) has partnered with RB, the maker of Lysol, and a team of medical professionals from leading institutions, including Columbia University, with expertise in public health, COVID-19, and other infectious diseases to come up with an actionable plan to "enhance cleanliness and disinfection in rental facilties and vehicles." Hip Hop Public Health, which is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering positive behavior change, is also part of the coalition.

A team of scientists and germ experts from RB, who are responsible for driving germ-kill innovation for Lysol, will review and provide ABG guidance on best practices to optimize the efficacy of ABG's cleaning and maintenance protocols. Additionally, AGB will introduce Lysol products at its rental families and in vehicles as part of a larger agreement that replaces or supplements existing CDC-recommended and EPA-certified products that ABG currently uses.

"At RB, our mission is to protect, heal, and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world. It is imperative that we protect all consumers, today and in the days ahead as we all look forward to new ways of returning to work and leisure activities, including travel," said Rahul Kadyan, EVP, North America, Hygiene, RB. "RB/Lysol has over 130 years of science-based research and thought leadership. We are excited to support ABG through awareness, training and education, and adequate product delivery in the hygiene and disinfection space."

The medical professional that are part of the advisory board include Dr. Olajide Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Neurology at Columbia University and Founder of Hip Hop Public Health, Dr. Amelia Boehme, Dr. Robert Bollinger, Dr. Gbenga Ogedegbe and Dr. Angela Rasmussen.

"Updating safety protocols and maintaining fidelity to them requires a company to invest in behavior change in order to facilitate and sustain the uptake of new health-related behaviors by its workforce," said Williams. "We are grateful that ABG is focusing on safety by investing in the educational process of their employees. The right products and protocols need to be properly and consistently deployed by every single individual who is involved in the process to ensure public health safety."

"Our commitment to the safety and satisfaction of our customers and employees is unwavering," said Joe Ferraro, CEO of Avis Budget Group. "Recovering from the impacts of a global pandemic requires innovative solutions and we are excited to announce the Avis Safety Pledge and our Budget Worry-Free Promise. Beyond words, we are taking a comprehensive set of actions through our coalition with Lysol, Hip Hop Public Health and highly esteemed expert medical professionals, aimed at ensuring the products, protocols, and training are in place to raise the bar for cleanliness and safety."

Avis Budget Group is the parent company of Avis, Budget, Zipcar, Maggiore, FranceCars, Apex Car Rentals, and Payless Car Rental. Their extended network of companies includes other global brands.

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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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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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