The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a lot of changes in nearly every aspect of our daily lives. One thing that’s been particularly interesting and inspiring to see is how big names in the off-road industry are adapting to deal with these changes. All over the country (and beyond), companies are innovating and finding new ways to help their communities and work with customers in a brand new way.
Check out some of the unique and innovative ways your favorite industry names have switched things up in response to a worldwide pandemic.
The bulk of Honda’s approach to a worldwide pandemic focuses on addressing food security throughout the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico. The company pledged $1 million to food banks and meal programs, all of which serve vulnerable and at-risk communities. In addition to this pledge, they enacted a COVID-19 Special Matching Gift Program, which enables Honda employees to make monetary donations that will be matched by Honda up to $1,000 per person. To further combat poverty and food shortages in the midst of a crisis, they converted the Honda Center, a Honda-sponsored entertainment venue in Southern California, into a temporary food bank distribution center.
Another way they are doing their part is through the Virtual Volunteers program, which empowers and encourages Honda employees to help out their communities in a variety of ways. As a result of this program, countless members of the Honda team have devoted their time and efforts into crafting handmade masks for essential workers or performing regular neighborhood wellness checks.
Honda’s #ThankaHealthCareHero social media campaign is encouraging people across the world to show their gratitude to frontline workers. But they’re not just campaigning for others to show their appreciation—ten of Honda’s North American facilities have donated a combined 200,000 items to healthcare providers and first responders. These items include gloves, face shields, N95 masks, alcohol wipes, and more. Some Honda facilities have even started utilizing their 3D printers to manufacture parts for face shields, all of which are also being donated to medical facilities.
To assist their customers in this time of need, Honda has started offering deferred payments, payment extensions, and late fee waivers when needed. Effective April 1, they have also been offering select and eligible first responders and healthcare professionals discounts on new vehicles leased through Honda or Acura.
The John Deere team has been hard at work brainstorming and innovating new ways to help curb the spread of germs and make hard times a little easier for frontline workers. For example, assembly manufacturing engineer Jason Sherron developed a product called PUSH, or Personal Use Safety Handles, in order to create a more safe and sanitary work environment for John Deere employees. These handles are made from 1-1/2” diameter PVC pipe and can quickly be placed on existing assembly cart handles when in use. Each employee was given their own safety handle, helping to keep the assembly floor more sanitary as employees move from cart to cart.
Another employee, senior engineer Andrew Jarvie, developed and 3D printed touch-free door opening devices. This small plastic tool allows users to grab a door handle with an angled hook without having to touch the handle themselves. This device can be clipped to an employee’s badge holder and works on almost every type of door. As of April, over 1,000 of these devices had been made and were in use at John Deere facilities across the country.
To help healthcare workers and first responders, John Deere also utilized 3D printers to manufacture hundreds of “ear savers,” small plastic devices intended to relieve the irritation of wearing protective masks. And as of May 22, the company had produced and distributed more than 350,000 face shields for Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities across the country, with plans to manufacture at least 50,000 more.
And John Deere didn’t forget about the kids during this time! Several new online activities, including some fun virtual field trip videos, were added to the John Deere for Kids website, all intended to help parents and educators better engage children during at-home learning.
Kawasaki didn’t want you to miss out on any bit of off-road action while you were stuck at home, so on April 22, they launched the “We’ll Deliver the Good Times” home delivery program. In light of stay-at-home orders, travel restrictions, and social distancing, this program allows participating dealers to deliver Kawasaki products directly to a customer’s home or place of business. Their goal is to facilitate the purchase of Kawasaki products—vehicles, parts, accessories, and apparel—for those who can’t or do not wish to visit a dealership in person.
Polaris is another company who took measures to make sure customers were taken care of during this pandemic. In the first week of April, they launched their “Click. Deliver. Ride.” program, a new and innovative way to service customers through home delivery. Like Kawasaki’s program, “Click. Deliver. Ride.” allows customers to purchase a new Polaris vehicle from the comfort of their home and then have that vehicle delivered by a local participating dealer. This program is available for a limited time only and only through participating dealers, but in the meantime, it’s providing a comprehensive option for Polaris customers to continue purchasing and enjoying these machines from home.
No matter how bad things get, you can always count on there being people who go above and beyond to help others. Through donating much-needed medical supplies, providing financial relief, developing new products to keep people safe, or just coming up with ways to keep people entertained in hard times, seeing so many names in the off-road industry adapting to this crisis is pretty awesome.
What are some other ways you’ve seen businesses—either big name or local—help out during this time? Let us know in the comments below!