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Coronavirus - the Automotive Industry and your Dealership

CarlAutofusion

Full Sticker
Mar 17, 2014
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Carl
I have had a few meetings with dealers interested in allowing customers to buy cars from their home and have the car delivered. I think this would be a conversation many dealerships are having right now - if people won't go to the dealership, the dealership can come to them.
 

Joe Friedrichsen

Full Sticker
Jun 19, 2019
48
36
First Name
Joe
I have had a few meetings with dealers interested in allowing customers to buy cars from their home and have the car delivered. I think this would be a conversation many dealerships are having right now - if people won't go to the dealership, the dealership can come to them.
Interesting. Did those dealers that you spoke with offer up any specifics on how they would potentially deliver those vehicles to customers or make that delivery service a reality? Also, did you get the sense that these dealers were seeing this option as something to consider as a unique long-term service as well?
 
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CarlAutofusion

Full Sticker
Mar 17, 2014
36
26
First Name
Carl
Interesting. Did those dealers that you spoke with offer up any specifics on how they would potentially deliver those vehicles to customers or make that delivery service a reality? Also, did you get the sense that these dealers were seeing this option as something to consider as a unique long-term service as well?
Most of the conversation was regarding changes in their marketing and website.

For one of the dealerships, I got the sense that this would be a temporary service until the situation with the coronavirus gets better. We really didn't talk much about the specifics of how the delivery would work.
 
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Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
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Most of the conversation was regarding changes in their marketing and website.
:light: Brilliant! Judging by past things the social issues will be farther-reaching than the health ones (we can hope). Offering people a way to be comfortable at home is absolutely the way to satiate those who still have to replace leases and others who are still car shopping.

The dealers who are communicating with their leads and customers with all the buying information* they need will have a better March and April.

*there are DealerRefresh sponsors who can really help here.
 

CarlAutofusion

Full Sticker
Mar 17, 2014
36
26
First Name
Carl
Some dealers still want to keep the showroom open so I suggested that they make sure they clearly outline on digital some of the things they are doing like:
  • hand sanitizing stations
  • "white-glove" service - where sales associate wear disposable gloves
  • etc.
Others will push online sales but one challenge they have is with used cars - consumers will want to look at the vehicles and check them out. We're looking into a few options like having a return policy.
 

jon.berna

D.R. Truth
Nov 14, 2011
162
201
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Jon
:light: Brilliant! Judging by past things the social issues will be farther-reaching than the health ones (we can hope). Offering people a way to be comfortable at home is absolutely the way to satiate those who still have to replace leases and others who are still car shopping.

The dealers who are communicating with their leads and customers with all the buying information* they need will have a better March and April.

*there are DealerRefresh sponsors who can really help here.
Zach did this last night! #noshame haha :rofl:

 
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Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
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A local dealer in the DC area sent this out by email

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During this potential crisis with Coronavirus, we have been thinking about how we can help our clients and community.

This is why we have decided to offer our “Germ Fighting Treatment” for your vehicle for free.

It is designed to kill germs and allergens -- sort of a hand sanitizer for your car. While we cannot make claims about its ability to kill any specific virus, this treatment is estimated to kill 99.9% of germs, allergens and odors. It mirrors some of the specific guidelines that the CDC recommends to reduce an individual’s chance of catching one of these viruses. We've been offering it for years and you can see more information here.

The treatment is normally $399, but to help protect your health, we are offering one treatment per vehicle to you and your family for free.

You can schedule your appointment online through the following dealership concierge links below

Stay Healthy,

Your Friends at Ourisman Automotive

Participating Ourisman Dealerships



Good idea?
 

Joe Friedrichsen

Full Sticker
Jun 19, 2019
48
36
First Name
Joe
Just to add to this conversation, the company I work for, Dealer Teamwork, recently announced its recommendations for dealers to help them succeed amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. I'll put them here for you all to check out:
  • Dealership Branding – Dealers should focus short term branding on efficiency, reputation, and ease of use. Dealers that rely on traditional brand identification such as welcoming family spaces, friendly sales staff shaking hands with clients, or #1 volume dealers all signal troublesome person to person contact environments.
  • Client time onsite – Dedicating internal resources and optimizing the off-site transaction processing will be critical to reducing in-store time. A dedicated transaction processing page with a thoughtful, organized layout is helpful for usability and competition; select vehicle, value trade, financing link, etc.
  • Cleanliness of Dealership – Dedicate additional resources to keeping your dealership clean and professional. Disinfect all hard surfaces frequently and adopt a policy of keeping sick workers at home. Then communicate this message to your clients so they are aware your dealership is working proactively to make their experience safe.
  • Variable Advertising Expense Management - We are also advising dealers that advertising (variable) investment should be monitored very closely during this unsettled time. Understanding your media investment and relative performance should allow an orderly cost reduction to eliminate variable cost from least effective to most effective as local conditions dictate. Be wary of providers dependent on spend based media fees as their interests may not be aligned with your variable expense management strategy. We are recommending impacted dealers to reduce or eliminate mid-funnel prospecting and focus on known low funnel campaigns for paid media. Additionally, any rebranding strategy previously mentioned should be social media first as many people in-market will be spending more time on social media; seeing if friends are impacted, news, and extra time from employer work-at-home policies.
  • Elasticity of Demand – The elasticity of demand is an economic concept that quantifies the relationship between price and demand. In retail automotive, under normal circumstances, demand increases as product price decreases. We believe impacted dealers will not be operating under normal conditions concerning COVID-19. Our expectation is pricing will be a secondary factor in the short term. Consumers will be more likely to engage dealers if they believe they are going to be subject to dealership experiences limiting time-on-site and providing for a safe experience.
If you're interested, you can check out Dealer Teamwork's full thoughts about COVID-19's impact on automotive dealerships here: COVID-19 Impact on Automotive Dealerships.
 
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