2020 will go down in history as a year full of unprecedented disruption, devastation and the abandonment of ‘normal’ daily life. However, through the rubble, there have been inspiring moments of kindness and generosity that have prevailed over the last 12 months, including those from the automotive sector.
Despite the huge impact of Coronavirus on the car industry, brand leaders have come together to offer support to those in need, including relief charities, frontline workers and those most vulnerable. Here, we reminisce over the monumental efforts made over the course of this year by the individuals of the automotive industry in a bid to support communities around the world.
Back in March, Jardine Motors Group’s parent company Jardine Matheson donated a huge amount of PPE and hand sanitiser to health care workers and communities-in-need in Hong Kong. A whopping 79,000 N95 high protection masks were donated to frontline workers at the Hospital Authority, as well as 100,000 KF94 masks and 30,000 bottles of hand sanitiser to the elderly, underprivileged youth and families, physically challenged students and those recovering from mental health illnesses.
Multiple sites from across Jardine Motors Group, including teams from Mercedes-Benz Colchester and TPS Peterborough, donated large supplies of gloves, masks, seat covers, sanitising wipes and steering wheel covers to local hospitals and care homes. Dr Ed Garratt, from the Essex, Ipswich and Suffolk NHS Trust, told us: “The support we have received from local businesses, communities and people across the patch has been extraordinary. Your supply of car seat covers will significantly increase the level of care we are able to provide to the people we serve. As such, I and my colleagues across the system remain truly grateful.”
A range of Jardine Motors Group sites remained open for aftersales services throughout the Coronavirus pandemic to support key workers and the emergency services. Technicians played a vital role in ensuring critical vehicles could operate safely and efficiently during the COVID response in order to help those in need. Technicians committed to ensuring the vehicles of emergency workers, teachers and those providing vital community services were road-worthy and safe – and continue to do so.
Our colleagues spent their time during lockdown giving back to the community: from making scrubs bags for local NHS staff, delivering shopping and medication for those most vulnerable, to walking the dogs for elderly, self-isolating neighbours. We are extremely proud of how our colleagues have dedicated themselves to helping others in what has been a tough year.
The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) held an online #RaceAgainstCovid auction in aid of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) global response to COVID-19. The sale, hosted by RM Sotheby’s, consisted of 95 collectable pieces and VIP experiences donated by the global automotive and motorsport community; all of which sold to achieve a staggering £845,472 in aid of the cause. Highlights of the auction included the McLaren MP4-24 show car, which sold for £66,000, and F1 World Champion Damon Hill’s 1995 Renault Racing suit and helmet, which received the winning bid of £39,600 (despite its pre-sale estimate of only £5,000 - £7,000).
*Image courtesy of RM Sotheby’s and FIA
A Formula 1 race suit worn by seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton was auctioned by Bonhams to help raise funds for the NHS Charities Covid-19 Urgent Appeal. The overalls were worn by Lewis Hamilton during the Free Practice 2 sessions in Monaco, Austria and Silverstone and were donated by the Mercedes F1 team along with another race suit worn by teammate Valtteri Bottas, raising £12,000 for the NHS appeal.
*Image courtesy of Bonhams
Porsche and RM Sotheby’s held a charity auction for a special 991-generation 911, the proceeds of which were donated to United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. The car was the last 911 Speedster ever produced within the 991 generation, and was accompanied by a Porsche 911 Speedster Heritage Design Choreograph watch, a book documenting the production of the final 911 Speedster and a private tour of the Porsche AG Weissach development headquarters. The winning bid came in at $500,000, which was then matched by Porsche Cars North America, Inc., bringing the total charity proceeds to $1 million.
*911 Speedster (991), 2020, PCNA
Engineers at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, the University College London (UCL), University College London Hospitals (UCLH) came together to develop and deliver breathing aids to 40 NHS hospitals across the country. The UCL-Ventura breathing aid, a low-flow Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device, was deployed to treat COVID-19 patients in major cities including London, Belfast, Glasgow, Blackburn, Manchester, Norwich, Northampton and Birmingham.
*Image courtesy of UCL.
Jaguar Land Rover provided the British Red Cross with 57 vehicles, including 27 Defenders, to help deliver food and medicine to vulnerable and elderly people in the UK during the COVID-19 crisis. Another 65 vehicles supported Red Cross efforts in Australia, France, South Africa and Spain. JLR also loaned vehicles to the National Health Service and emergency services to support local efforts and donated protective equipment to a number of NHS hospitals, including protective visors using 3D printing technology.
Aston Martin worked with Multimatic and the Manufacturing Technology Centre to deliver unique intubation shields a (respiratory protection device) for intensive care staff in the NHS, and also developed protective visors and gowns for local hospitals in Coventry and Warwickshire. Aston Martin utilised its cutting machines at Gaydon, usually used to create leather shapes for sports car interiors, to create the components for the intubation shields.
Bentley Motors rolled out its ‘Meals on 22-inch Wheels’ services to communities in Cheshire, where colleagues volunteered to deliver essential items in local areas, including meals to the vulnerable. Bentley also used 3D printing technology to produce and supply PPE to the Cheshire care sector, including all care homes, the NHS and other local community services. Rolls-Royce also used its fleet of 30 limousines to deliver groceries and medical supplies for free to those in need in and around Chichester.
More than 30 Nissan dealerships took part in a heart-warming initiative to support NHS workers by loaning free vehicles should their normal mode of transport be compromised during the COVID-19 crisis. Vehicles on offer included the Micra, Juke, Qashqai and Leaf. All the cars (which were previously used as demonstrators or courtesy vehicles) included complimentary insurance and roadside assistance.
We’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all those that have shown such kindness and generosity by supporting those in need throughout 2020. Jardine Motors Group employees will continue to offer help to front-line staff and those most vulnerable by providing resources and volunteering where possible. As 2020 closes and we move into a new year, we hope this nationwide community spirit remains.