Whole motor shows and entire car plants may have shut-down in the wake of Covid-19, but car manufacturers didn’t sit idle; like many other luxury brands, they leapt straight into the thick of the action in the global fight against Covid-19 by repurposing departments, personnel and production lines. Some announcements of Covid-19 contributions came fast and furious, but other brands were noticeably reticent, notably a British luxury marque that prefers to keep its efforts discreet. We’ve respected the wishes of said automaker, but highlight other efforts by the luxury car industry below; because front-line warriors, patients, and the community should know that they don’t stand alone.
Think of Audi’s interlocking four rings logo as emblematic of the brand’s commitment to supporting the world’s efforts in combating the virus. The company has ear-marked €5 million to support emergency humanitarian aid at both the national and international level, as well as an additional €600,000 for domestic hospitals at the brand’s Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm sites in Germany.
Bentley Motors demonstrates it doesn’t just produce heavyweights like the Flying Spur and Bentayga, but its efforts in combating Covid-19 is similarly heavy-duty. The brand’s Be Safe health and safety campaign supports both the local community in Cheshire, as well as Bentley colleagues during the coronavirus crisis. Apart from delivering over 30,000 in-house 3D-printed face-shields to the Cheshire care sector, the brand has also donated personal protective equipment (PPE) — to the tune of 20,000 pairs of disposable gloves, 10,000 face-masks and 1,800 disposable seat covers — and extended its Meals on 22-inch Wheels service, where volunteers deliver essential items, such as meals and medical supplies, to the community.
Bentley’s Board Member for People, Digitalisation and IT, Dr Astrid Fontaine, said: “We are utilising our world-leading engineering and manufacturing expertise, the remarkable vehicles and resources we have available to us, and also our extraordinary colleagues, who are going to such efforts to help the local Cheshire area and the healthcare professions, locally and nationally, who continue to perform such heroics. We will endeavour to work with the whole community in the proceeding weeks and months to help in every way possible in this time of great need.”
In a dramatic change from building high-performance sportscars and rapid prototyping speed-enhancing components, Ferrari embarked on a race against Covid-19 as its Maranello plant started producing respirator valves and fittings for protective masks and breathing-aids to support front-line health workers and patients. The thermoplastic components are fabricated using “additive manufacturing technology”, and are supplied to various companies for final assembly to support Italian hospitals.
Ferrari’s Chairman, CEO and Board of Directors further pledged their full compensation from April to the end of the year — while its Senior Management Team is donating 25 percent of their salaries over the same period — to fund a series of support campaigns for the immediate vicinity around the Prancing Horse’s stable, which includes Maranello, Fiorano and Formigine. This is intended to cover the supply of Covid-19 test-kits and diagnostic equipment, an emergency support vehicle, food and even computer equipment for schools to support home-based learning initiatives.
The Raging Bull charges from the research, development and production of its iconic super-sportscars to producing surgical masks, plexiglass shields and breathing simulators to support the fight against Covid-19. The saddlery department that typically works on cabin personalisation and customisation requests for well-heeled owners now hand-stitch 1,000 masks a day, while its carbon fibre plant works with the R&D department to 3D print 200 medical shields a day.
Stefano Domenicali, Chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, commented: “During this emergency, we feel the need to make a concrete contribution. The S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital is an institution with which we have had a collaborative relationship for years, through both professional consultancy in promoting programmes to protect our workers’ health, and in research projects. We will win this battle together by working in union, supporting those who are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic every day.”
With its towering reputation for rugged overland expeditions, Land Rover has deployed over 300 vehicles globally to support emergency response organisations. In addition to this, various Jaguar Land Rover facilities around the world have started production and delivery of protective visors to support their respective local health workers.
Finbar McFall, Jaguar Land Rover Customer Experience Director, said: “The health and safety of our employees, customers and their families remain our priority. As a business we are doing everything we can to support people in need around the world including vehicle deployment, cash donations and engineering expertise. In our 65-year partnership with the Red Cross we have never experienced a crisis on this scale. It’s reassuring to see how our combined efforts are really making a difference, helping the most vulnerable during this global pandemic.”
Best known for its iconic 911 sportscar, Porsche was speedy in donating existing personal protective equipment from their stocks to the German government. In addition to cash donations to humanitarian funds, Porsche is also providing charitable organisations with vehicles and drivers to support the transport of relief supplies and essential service providers.
Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG said: “Porsche already supports a large number of charitable initiatives and we are significantly extending this commitment during the coronavirus crisis. There are people who urgently need help and we are concentrating on providing humanitarian aid. We can overcome the pandemic only if we work together and show solidarity.”