COVID-19

GM donates $2.65 million to 40 nonprofits, supporting employee volunteer efforts

General Motors (GM) is investing in the lives of its workers and their communities in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. The company announced $2.65 million in donations to 40 non-profits today as well as support for employee volunteer efforts.

"Our team at GM has shown ingenuity, creativity and heart as we face this pandemic," said Mark Reuss, president, General Motors. "We have mobilized our manufacturing capacity to aid response efforts, and we've been actively engaged in our communities to help find solutions to new and compounding challenges, especially in education."

The $2.65 million includes a $1 million grant to the DonorsChoose Keep Kids Learning program, which provides $1,000 credits to 1,000 teachers in high-need school districts to help send basic resources like books, pencils, notebooks, food and cleaning supplies to students' homes.

"When schools began closing last month, we surveyed over 4,000 teachers from the country's highest-need districts and found that nearly 70 percent of their students lack resources to learn at home," said Charles Best, founder and CEO, DonorsChoose. "The unfortunate reality is, when students cannot go to school, the resources available in their homes are going to shape their education, which means coronavirus threatens to widen educational inequity. We're grateful for General Motors' support of our Keep Kids Learning program, to help teachers prepare their students to continue learning at home."

Another $1.65 million in grant funding is being sent to nonprofits providing critical services to communities, like food and housing assistance, small business support, and at-home learning resources for parents, teachers and students.

GM is also working to produce face masks for first responders and health care workers, as well as working with Ventec to create respiratory care products.

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Cadillac will be the first brand with Ultra Cruise

General Motors

Tesla has been in hot water for a while now for shenanigans pulled by owners abusing the automaker's advanced cruise control functions. While the company's Full Self Driving (FSD) tech isn't quite ready for primetime, other automakers are catching up – quickly. Today, General Motors announced Ultra Cruise, its advanced driver assistance tech that promises to allow hands-free driving in 95 percent of driving scenarios.

Ultra Cruise Ultra Cruise will build on Super Cruise functionality.General Motors

GM notes that its goal is to eventually roll the service out to all paved roads in the U.S. and Canada. When it launches, the service will work on over two million miles of roads, which could nearly double as the program expands.

Ultra Cruise will offer a host of automated driving features that build on Super Cruise:

  • Dynamic display system
  • Ability to react to permanent traffic control devices
  • Follow internal navigation routes
  • Maintain headway and follow speed limits
  • Support automatic, on-demand lane changes
  • Support left and right turns
  • Support close object avoidance
  • Support parking in residential driveways

The system uses LiDAR, radar, and cameras to build a 360-degree, three-dimensional picture of the world around it. An additional LiDAR unit is located behind the windshield. GM notes that a big part of the system is its Human Machine Interface (HMI), which communicates with the driver to alert them when they need to take control. Ultra Cruise-equipped vehicles will do this with a head-up display that helps drivers stay focused on the road, and will use the same driver monitoring cameras that are used in Super Cruise.

Ultra Cruise Ultra Cruise will enable hands-free driving in the majority of driving scenarios.General Motors

Ultra Cruise will first be available in Cadillac vehicles starting from 2023. There's no word on pricing or specific vehicle availability at this time.

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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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