COVID-19

FCA stepping up to produce face masks for first responders, health care workers

Aerial exterior view of the 3.3 million square-foot Chrysler Group's Warren Truck Assembly Plant (Mich.). The facility has been making trucks since 1938 and currently produces the Ram 1500.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is used to making Alfa Romeos, Chryslers, Dodges, and Jeeps. Now, the company is transitioning to producing face masks in the wake of a call to action in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

FCA has committed to manufacturing and donating more than 1 million protective face masks per month, starting in the coming weeks. The company says that this action is the first in a global initiative that has been developed by the company to apply manufacturing, supply chain, and engineering expertise to support the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

"Protecting our first responders and health care workers has never been more important," said Mike Manley, FCA CEO. "In addition to the support we are giving to increase the production of ventilators, we canvassed our contacts across the healthcare industry and it was very clear that there is an urgent and critical need for face masks. We've marshalled the resources of the FCA Group to focus immediately on installing production capacity for making masks and supporting those most in need on the front line of this pandemic."

FCA has not confirmed exactly which facilities will be used for the manufacturing.

Distribution is slated to be to first responders and health care workers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The company will be working with national, regional, and city authorities to support distribution to ensure that the masks go to the people and families at highest risk for contamination.

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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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Twelth-grader Vincent Piaskowski took top honors in the Stellantis competition.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis
Stellantis, formerly known in the U.S. as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has just wrapped its annual Drive for Design contest and has crowned three impressive winners. The contest gives high school students an opportunity to win prizes, meet influential member of Stellantis' vehicle design teams, and spend time at the College for Creative Studies.
  • First Place: Vincent Piaskowski, 12th grade from Michigan
  • Second Place: Rocco Morales, 10th grade from Michigan
  • Third Place: Alex Wang, 12th grade from California

Second place winner Tenth-grader Rocco Morales won second place.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The winners submissions were impressive, but the prizes they won are pretty cool, too. First place took home a Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16, a Virtual Day of Design that includes a one-on-one portfolio review with Stellantis design leaders Ralph Gilles and Mark Trostle, and a scholarship for a four-week virtual summer program at the College for Creative Studies. Earning a second- or third-place price wasn't so bad, either. Those two got an Apple iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, a visit with Head of Ram Truck and Mopar Design, Mark Trostle, and the same four-week scholarship.

Before they could claim a prize, artists' submissions were scrutinized in four key areas, each evenly weighted in judging. Craftsmanship, design quality, illustration, and originality were all scored to find the winner. Looking at the top three entries, it's clear that the choice before the judges was a tough one.

Third place winner Twelth-grader Alex Wang took home third place.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The winning submission was a concept called the Jeep Grand Teton. It's accompanied in the sketches by its own reconnaissance drone, and doesn't look all that far-fetched, as far as concept vehicles go. The second-place submission is called the Jeep Crazy Horse. It's quite a bit more "out there," and features a sliding battery unit to improve vehicle balance off road. Third place, while futuristic, looks to be a throwback to the vintage Jeep Forward Control pickups of decades past. Named the Adversary, the concept features solar cells, tent storage, and a unique cabover design.

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