Senate, White House Reach $2 Trillion Stimulus Deal to Blunt Coronavirus Fallout

First Up 03/25/20

Senate, White House Reach $2 Trillion Stimulus Deal to Blunt Coronavirus Fallout

Senate leaders and the Trump administration reached agreement early Wednesday on a $2 trillion stimulus package to rescue the economy from the coronavirus assault, setting the stage for swift passage of the massive legislation through both chambers of Congress, reports The Washington Post. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced the breakthrough on the Senate floor around 1:30 a.m., after a long day of talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other administration officials. “At last we have a deal,” McConnell said. “After days of intense discussion, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic. … I’m thrilled that we’re finally going to deliver for the country that has been waiting for us to step up.” The agreement capped five straight days of intensive negotiations that occasionally descended into partisan warfare as the nation’s economy reeled from the deadly pandemic, with schools and businesses closed, mass layoffs slamming the workforce and tens of thousands falling ill. Read more here. 

Industry Builds Case for Federal Aid

The automotive industry is building a case for federal assistance under a $2 trillion economic stimulus package, reports Automotive News. The American International Automobile Dealers Association, in a letter sent Tuesday as Democrats and Republicans were hammering out details of the economic stimulus package, thanked Congress and the administration for their “initial swift action” to the COVID-19 crisis. The trade group asked congressional leaders to consider the automotive retail industry and the nearly 9,500 international nameplate auto dealers in the U.S. as lawmakers negotiate the third phase of economic assistance. “As Congress and the administration discuss the next steps, AIADA urges you to act quickly and purposefully to put forth strategies and policies that strength the economy, help stabilize markets and ensure liquidity for businesses,” AIADA CEO Cody Lusk said in the letter. The group echoed others in the auto sector by asking Congress to reconsider the 500-employee threshold eligibility requirement for certain tax credits or deductions because dealership groups, as a combined organization, often exceed that threshold. Instead, AIADA is requesting that dealership groups be allowed to waive aggregation. Read more here. 

Lease Prices Decline as Coronavirus Outbreak Expands

Automakers are dealing with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on multiple fronts, including the increasing decline in sales. However, reports The Detroit Bureau, they’ve moved quickly, offering improved financing offers for potential buyers and now we’re seeing some maker’s offering impressive lease offers for new vehicles, according to, which tracks leasing deals online. The Nissan Sentra is currently priced the lowest of all vehicles, coming in at just $139 per month for the fifth consecutive month. Some vehicle lease offers have basically remained unchanged in March, dealers are offering aggressive lease pricing on midsize cars and SUVs. Supporting that is that the vehicle that saw the largest price drop moving in the month of March was the Mercedes-Benz GLS 450. It can be had for $749 a month, which is a 17.9% decrease. Other big drops include the Honda Accord at $249 a month, down 8.72%, Volkswagen Jetta for $239 per month, a 7.62% drop, and the Volkswagen Passat at $289 per month for a 6.39%. Read more here. 

UAW Confirms 2 Members Have Died from Coronavirus, Both FCA Factory Workers

A UAW official said late Tuesday that the union is mourning the death of two members who tested positive for the novel coronavirus and have died, reports The Detroit Free Press. "I can confirm that two UAW members who had tested positive, one at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant and one in Kokomo, at the Kokomo Transmission Plant (in Indiana), have passed. Both worked for Fiat Chrysler," said Brian Rothenberg, UAW spokesman. Both the company and the union have been monitoring plants nationally as union officials track assembly workers quarantined and ill. Most plants in Michigan have been shuttered temporarily, but that action followed reports of near fights in factories as tension grew with the spread of the virus. Read more here.

Porsche Offers U.S. Dealers Relief Package

Porsche Cars North America is offering its 192 U.S. dealers a relief package as the auto industry reels from a business slowdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports Automotive News. The sports car maker is guaranteeing payouts, relaxing dealer performance bonus objectives, and extending finance. It is similar to dealer-focused plans instituted by BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and other automakers. Porsche dealers are guaranteed their marketing and customer satisfaction bonus for the first half of the year, even if they don't meet qualifying objectives. To buoy retailer bottom lines, Porsche's Floorplan Assistance Program will cover a "large portion" of vehicle inventory costs for 60 days. Dealers will receive an undisclosed flat fee to help with the cost of any new vehicle home delivery through April 30. The number of vehicle home deliveries is expected to increase as customers stay home to avoid the coronavirus. Read more here. 

Webinar: Customer Care and Business Guidance During the Pandemic

Join AIADA’s Chairman and dealer, Jason Courter from Honda of Kirkland, and industry leader Kendall Billman for a special webinar on how to nurture your customers and keep your business viable

Kendall will discuss how to:

  • Address customer concerns and struggles, example: let the dealer become the liaison with the captive or bank

  • Manage the service lane during this crisis

  • Data-mine the correct customers

Jason Courter will share his firsthand experience from the west coast pandemic epicenter of Kirkland, Washington.

WHEN: Thursday, March 26 - 2:00 p.m. EDT.

To register, click here. 

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Road Traffic in the U.S. Drops by 30% as Coronavirus Keeps People In [Autoblog]

Aston Martin to Halt Car Production at Both Factories [The Guardian]