COVID-19

Yamaha launches Deliver Your Ride program nationwide

The 2020 Wolverine X4 XT-R features a factory installed Warn winch, Special Edition paint, color matched wheels, and aggressive GBC Dirt Commander tires.

Photo courtesy of Yamaha

Yamaha dealers nationwide are now able to complete vehicle purchases remotely and deliver products to customer. Just add trails.

The new Deliver Your Ride program includes ATV, Side-by-Side, motorcycle, and snowmobile products. It's similar to delivery programs automakers are currently offering that save buyers a trip to the dealership. Dealership interactions are a big pain point with customers, according to a recent Cars.com survey.

Deliver Your Ride is available nationwide wherever dealers can legally and safely participate, and is willing to do so.

2018 Kodiak 700 EPS The 2018 Kodiak 700 EPS features on-command 4WD with diff‑lock.Photo courtesy of Yamaha

"Yamaha is working hard to support our dealer network and their customers during these difficult times," said Steve Nessl, Yamaha's Motorsports group marketing manager. "It's not business-as-usual for anyone, yet we know people may still want to buy and enjoy new Yamaha products where possible and appropriate based on their local laws and regulations."

Yamaha doesn't see Deliver Your Ride as a permanent delivery solution, but rather a temporary fix in response to precautions being taken nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many industry analysts have openly speculated about what these temporary moves will mean for the dealership model as shelter in place orders end. Dealers are working to grapple with the online sales model, with some more successful than others. During the pandemic, Americans have begun spending record amounts in the e-commerce space.

Interested customers can contact their local Yamaha dealer or visit YamahaMotorsports.com to determine availability in their area.

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Infiniti is taking new steps to make customers comfortable purchasing their vehicles from the company.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

A new customer service plan from Infiniti is aimed at giving customers a luxury retail experiences as they continue to socially distance. Infiniti Now will also support drivers on the road.

Retailers can now schedule services to meet customers for vehicle delivery and pickup, mobile test drives, at-home vehicle delivery, and enhanced vehicle cleaning at a location that suits both parties and takes into account their level of comfortability. The retailers may also engage in enhanced cleaning of high-touch areas and the implementation of social distancing within dealerships.

2020 Infiniti QX80 Infiniti is in the middle of a big two-year stretch of product refreshes and rollouts. Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The personal digital shopping tool allows customers to have a 1:1 connection with Infiniti product experts. These experts can help INFINITI customers with everything from browsing and learning about the line-up to scheduling a test drive and getting their financing in order. The program can be accessed on www.infinitiusa.com or through a participating retailer website, and will empower consumers to speak with a local retailer via text or video.

Beta testing of Infiniti Now in select markets for evaluation and optimization has already begun, with a full roll-out for participating retailers beginning July 1, 2020.

Current Infiniti customers can receive a text from their dealership that features an interactive multi-point inspection of their vehicle. Called ICAR-X Service, this system will update the customer on their vehicle's condition after the technician completes the inspection. If any items require attention, the customer can authorize additional services from their phone with full transparency of pricing, allowing an exchange of information while respecting social distancing.

Additionally, Infiniti Now expands on previous financing commitments, and now offers deferred payments for up to 90 days on the purchase or lease of all new 2020 INFINITI models, in addition to 0 percent financing for 72 months.

Infiniti is in the middle of a big two-year stretch of product refreshes and rollouts. Many of its vehicles received infotainment system and design upgrades for the 2020 model year. The company is gearing up to launch the new QX55 SUV and has redesigned the QX60, which is slated to arrive on U.S. shores soon.

More information on INFINITI NOW is available at www.infinitiusa.com/coronavirus-covid-19.html.

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Newer Ford police SUVs can immediately begin installing the technology.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

A software solution will allow police officers across the world to reduce their chances of contracting COVID-19. All Ford Motor Company Police Interceptor Utility customers with certain model year vehicles are immediately eligible for the no-cost upgrade, which was engineered by the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker.

"First responders are on the front lines protecting all of us. They are exposed to the virus and are in dire need of protective measures," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief product development and purchasing officer. "We looked at what's in our arsenal and how we could step up to help. In this case, we've turned the vehicle's powertrain and heat control systems into a virus neutralizer."

What does it take to kill coronavirus? It sounds simple: Bake the vehicle until viruses inside are neutralized.

Ford heated sanitization testing and development process

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

What does that mean? The interior cabin temperature must reach beyond 133 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than Death Valley on the hottest day, for at least 15 minutes – long enough to help disinfect vehicle touch points.

According to Ford, here's how it works:

"Once activated, the vehicle's powertrain and climate control systems work together automatically to elevate interior cabin temperatures. The software warms up the engine to an elevated level, and then turns both the heat and fan settings on high. Interior temperatures are automatically monitored by the software to know when the entire cabin hits the optimal level and that temperature is then maintained for at least 15 minutes.

Law enforcement will have multiple ways to monitor progress. Hazard lights and taillights will flash in a pre-set pattern to notify when the process has begun, and they will change at the end to signal completion. Additionally, the instrument cluster inside the vehicle will indicate the progress of the procedure. A cool-down process has also been developed to help bring the temperature down from its highest points."

To develop the method, Ford worked with scientists from The Ohio State University. Ford also conducted software operational trials in vehicles owned by the New York City Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Michigan State Police, Massachusetts State Police, Boardman Township Police Department (Ohio), and Seminole County Sheriff's Office (Florida).

This process doesn't just have to be a one-time thing. Law enforcement officers can regularly sanitize their vehicle, when it is unoccupied, using the same technology.

Police departments with their own service centers are now able to install the software solution through their own diagnostic service tools, while other fleets can work with their local dealers to install the software.

For 2016-19 police vehicles, the heated software process can be activated by a smart sequence of commands that involves pressing cruise control buttons in a predefined order. For 2013-15 vehicles, this mode can be activated and carried out through an external tool that connects to the onboard diagnostics port.

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