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Volvo covering the cost of tools, training for new service techs

The Volvo Technician Tool Program will provide much-needed tools to automotive technicians who normally have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy their own.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Training to be an automotive technician has one large monetary obstacle for many - tools. In addition to paying for training and certification, most name-brand car retailer employers also expect technicians to own their own set of repair tools. Combined, training and tools can cost upwards of $20,000.

The Volvo Technician Tool Program eliminates that cost by providing technicians free and permanent access to the tools they need to do their jobs.

Volvo Car USA has worked with Wurth Tools to assemble a 72-piece set of hand and cordless tools that will enable service techs to get off the ground with their career. Volvo estimates the tools will allow them to perform 80 percent of their jobs they would encounter at a certified Volvo Car Service Center.

Volvo Technician Tool Program Retailers are responsible for the tools and will replace missing and broken equipment.Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Tools are organized and stored in a custom locking cabinet installed by the retailer, who is responsible for maintaining and replacing individual pieces.

"The Volvo Technician Tool Program (VTTP) addresses one of the biggest challenges facing the automotive industry: the need for more technicians," said Scott Doering, Vice President, Customer Service at Volvo Car USA. "With this initiative, we see substantial value delivered to our retailer partners, especially given the nominal VTTP investment relative to the cost of recruiting or replacing a technician."

"We have spent the last six months validating these toolsets in our in-house workshop and our technicians' feedback has been resoundingly positive," Doering said. "We expect retailers will feel the same."

Earlier this year, Volvo announced a hiring initiative aimed at U.S. military veterans. The company's Veteran Technician Careers Program U.S. military veterans as well as National Guard and Reserve members, for careers as Volvo Quality Level Technicians and Volvo Hybrid Specialists across its U.S. dealership network.

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The teaser image of the 2027 Kia lineup includes numerous cars and SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has revealed plans to launch seven new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2027 in numerous segments. The first, code named CV, will launch in 2021 and serve as the kickoff to a new Kia design direction. The move is known internally as the “Plan S" strategy. Under Plan S, Kia's BEV line will include 11 models by 2025.

The announcement coincides with the company's stated goal of having 25 percent of Kia's global sales come from BEVs by 2029. To do that, the company plans to work to expand the world's electric vehicle (EV) charging network. Kia has sold over 100,000 BEVs worldwide since the company introduced its first model in 2011, the Kia Ray.

Kia Ray EV 2011 The Kia Ray was the company's first production EV.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Plan S includes a company-wide business transformation that will include production, sales, and services. Dealerships will likely be required too invest in equipment to handle the influx of EVs. In the U.S, Kia will increase the number of EV work bays at dealerships to 600 by the end of 2020 and increase the number to more than 2,000 by 2023..

The product plan includes a diverse number of models. The vehicles will include BEVs that are “suitable for urban centers, long-range journeys, and performance driving". They will be based on the company's new adaptable Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The platform will allow for best-in-class interior spaciousness, according to Kia.

Though subscription services have not gained widespread popularity in the U.S., the company is exploring the creation of subscription services, as well as EV battery leasing and rental programs. Other “second life" battery-related businesses may be part of the plan as well.

Kia also plans to add around 500 charging stations in North America, partnering with its dealer networks. Further, the company is seeking a partner in North America to support a larger infrastructure buildout.

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The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross used the Internet of Things to connect to the My Mitsubishi Connect app

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North Americ

Mitsubishi has enlisted Aeris and Dealer-FX to better connect owners to their vehicles. Using integrations with the Aeris Mobility Services and Dealer-FX ONE platforms, the My Mitsubishi Connect mobile app will now enable Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross drivers to view real-time service and maintenance needs, as reported by their vehicles.

The system will push timely notifications from the vehicle to the app and the owner's smart mobile device allowing them to act in a matter of seconds rather than trying to remember that a warning light cane in while operating the vehicle.

"Mitsubishi customers are dreamers, achievers, entrepreneurs – active in their communities and in their family homes, and their time is extremely valuable," said Mark Chaffin, Chief Operating Officer of MMNA. "The My Mitsubishi Connect app allows us to enhance their experience, be more efficient with their time and continue to demonstrate our commitment to delivering high quality, top value vehicles with leading-edge technology in the U.S."

This isn't the company's first IoT foray. When it debuted, Mitsubishi Road Assist+ was the first hardware-free, smartphone-based app provided by an OEM that allowed owners to realize the cost savings of usage-based insurance without having to own "connected car" with built-in telematics capabilities or aftermarket-installed telematics hardware.

Mitsubishi continues to grow its presence in the U.S. market. The company recently relocated its headquarters from California to the Nashville, Tennessee area near where Renault-Nissan- Mitsubishi Alliance member Nissan has its North American headquarters.

The company recently announced a partnership with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to create the Small Batch - Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network, which gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from Mitsubishi executives, among other benefits.

The My Mitsubishi Connect and Mitsubishi Road Assist+ apps are currently available on the Google Play store and the Apple's App Store for use on Android and iOS devices.

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