Automotive Blogs

How Car Companies Can Combat Covid-19

by Roger Lanctot | Sep 18, 2020

The automotive industry has felt the full brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic with factory and dealership shutdowns, personal protective equipment and ventilator manufacturing, and accommodations to make, sell, and service cars in a post-pandemic world.  The global automotive industry is expected to take a better than 20% volume hit in 2020.

The factories are back to making cars. Dealerships are back to selling and servicing cars. It’s now time for a new chapter and a scrappy and rapidly growing startup is pointing the way to coping with COVID in 2020 and beyond.

Positioned as a provider of mobile COVID-19 employee testing assets, Davies MedClinic is putting mobile turnkey testing units on the road across the U.S. for on-site testing of employees or for testing at events. The video (link below) provides some of the historical background regarding the company and its work and includes a brief case study involving Gunn Auto Group in San Antonio, Tex.

Built for Business Ep. 4 – MedClinic on the Move -

It’s no surprise that a dealership would take advantage of mobile COVID-19 testing. Customers and employees, of which Gunn has 650, are nervous and business has been disrupted.  Bringing in the Davies MedClinic mobile testing units helped Gunn publicly demonstrate it was getting out ahead of the COVID-19 challenge and testing its employees. Thankfully, only one tested positive, according to Hunter Hale, president of Gunn.

Auto makers themselves were in the forefront of coping with COVID-19 with PPE and ventilator manufacturing. But auto makers were also forced to be in the forefront of accommodating COVID-19 concerns in the workplace with testing and app and smartwatch-based employee contact tracing, in-factory social distancing, and protective equipment.

There is no doubt that the industry – and maybe the country – owes a lot to the United Auto Workers – as well as non-unionized auto labor – for returning to work in the midst of the pandemic to build cars and auto components. The accommodations made by leading manufacturers paved the way forward.

The key elements behind the next stage of COVID-19 coping will be providing vehicle-mounted testing and mobile apps for tracking. This is why the Davies MedClinic initiative is so important. It is also why mobile vehicle-based testing is so important.

Davies currently has capacity for testing 50K people per day – including PCR and rapid antigen testing - via its 44 mobile testing units, but has plans to test as many as 300K/daily after it ramps up to 98 units be the end of December. 

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The mobile unit testing is integrated with the Davies Passport app (auto app industry veteran Fraser Campbell has a hand in this development and is featured in the video) that registers test subjects and provides real-time results and test time stamp. It’s possible that in the future the application could integrate proximity alerts in the event of positive tests – but Davies has not indicated any plans to add this functionality.

The bottom line is that offices, schools, factories, and public event venues can consider re-opening with the help of deployed Davies MedClinic mobile testing. In fact U.S. states, such as Connecticut, that have quarantines in place for visitors from high infection states, could deploy Davies MedClinic testing resources at airports to test incoming passengers. (Bradley International Airport management in Hartford, Ct., proposed just this kind of testing earlier this week to help enforce that states quarantine restrictions.)

Having personally been to an almost completely empty movie theater recently to see the debut of “Tenet” I can vouch for the efficacy of providing on-site testing for nervous movie goers. Would you subject yourself to a rapid Covid-19 test if it meant you could attend an NFL game? A Broadway Show? The World Series?

COVID-19 took a lot of vehicles off the road for a few months. But it’s vehicles like Davies MedClinic's converted tractor trailers and vans that may put the country back on the road to recovery. This is one hopeful sign that American ingenuity can show the way out of the current crisis. There’s no question that Davies MedClinic tractor trailers and vans will also be useful once a vaccine is ready.

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