HARDISON’s TIPS – JULY 6th – AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE DEPARTMENTS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS
Most auto dealers and service stations are keeping their doors open during the coronavirus pandemic, saying they should not be forced to close because they provide an essential service.
Dealers, who have been hit hard by the crisis already, say their businesses are essential to many Americans who need to buy or fix cars to get to their jobs or other critical destinations like hospitals.
To make people comfortable, dealers are practicing social distancing in their showrooms, offering to deliver purchased vehicles, allowing solo test rides and eliminating certain in-person activities to make a purchase.
They’re also offering steep discounts in the form of incentives passed along by the auto manufacturers, which are scrambling to keep selling vehicles.
In some states, dealerships have been forced to close their showrooms because of stay-at-home orders but can keep their service departments open. In others, they can keep both operating, according to NADA. Details of each state’s so-called shelter-in-place directive vary.
Most large automotive groups are still open – and recently received shipments of 10,000 hand sanitizers – but many customers are taking steps to schedule free delivery of vehicles they’ve purchased or want to test drive.
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People don’t have to worry about coming into contact with our staff, We’re disinfecting the cars before and after the test drives, we’re disinfecting all the areas in service and sales.
And, if somebody wants us to come to their home and deliver a car to them, we’ll do that. We can also come to their house and pick up their car for service.
It’s vital for service departments to remain open to help customers who still need to get to their jobs. But it’s also important for showrooms to remain open so that customers who need to replace their vehicle can do so, instead of spending thousands on a car that shouldn’t be repaired.
Many dealerships are practicing “no-contact sales and service” and encouraging customers to fill out most of their paperwork online.
You can do about 100% of the transaction online on their website or shorten the process if you still want to come in for (Test Drive, Trade Appraisal or F&I)
Many Independent dealerships that sell just used car have temporarily closed many locations. Like many other dealerships, they are offering customers the option to test-drive vehicles alone if they’re uncomfortable riding along with a dealership employee.
At Carvana, which advertises itself as a “car vending machine,” “some” locations are closed but customers can arrange for a “contactless delivery” if they live nearby, the company said in a statement. Customers can take delivery of a vehicle without interacting with the person who arrives in the vehicle hauler.
At the beginning of the year, forecasts called for 2020 U.S. auto sales of somewhere in the mid-16-million range. But the full-year figure could drop below 14 million in a “full-blown recession,” is in the near future.
Automakers have offered a slew of incentives to customers. For example, Ford is offering to make three months of new-car payments on behalf of customers, Hyundai is offering to make payments for six months if customers lose their jobs due to the coronavirus and GM is offering 0% financing for 84 months for certain buyers.
It is a great time to buy a vehicle if you dare to venture out, Sales have fallen off, dealerships remain open and automakers are supporting dealers and consumers to purchase.”
While COVID-19 is a significant crisis for the auto industry, it’s also presenting an opportunity of sorts for certain services.
For example, some service departments are selling a surge of interest in its Clorox Total 360 sanitizing service.
The 30-minute, $29.99 service kills 99.9% of bacteria on hard and soft surfaces inside vehicles. Many dealerships are offering the sanitizing service for free to first responders in certain markets. You need to check – be safe and stay healthy.
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