Volkswagen is offering pickup and delivery of essential supplies in areas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in both Canada and in the United States.

In the U.S, Volkswagen Group said it would give financial assistance to its U.S dealers who wish to use their loaner fleet to do the work.

While the same program doesn’t exist in Canada, the automaker said it offering similar assistance.  “Many of our dealers have begun their own programs to support local initiatives, and corporately, we have teamed up with the good people at Dillon’s Distillers,” Volkswagen Canada spokesman Thomas Teztlaff told Automotive News Canada in an email.

Dillon’s converted its distillery east of Hamilton to brew up sanitizer instead of their usual whisky and gin. Volkswagen Canada is providing the delivery using a fleet of its vehicles.  The hand sanitizer is free to hospitals, fire and police stations. 

In the United States, loaner cars, typically offered to customers to drive while their vehicles are in a shop for repairs, can be called upon for delivering food to a local food bank, transporting masks and gowns, and dropping off necessary items to those who are unable to leave their home, the automaker said.

Volkswagen said its dealers would not charge the group or person making such a request.

"Only dealership employees will be permitted to drive the vehicles. Volkswagen corporate will offer dealers a daily stipend per vehicle to cover fuel and lease costs," the automaker said.

Volkswagen's network of more than 600 U.S. dealers maintains a loaner fleet of nearly 7,000 vehicles, although some dealerships could be closed or working with reduced personnel due to state and local guidelines.

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