Ohio is often called “the heart of it all”, and like most of the country, that heartbeat is getting stronger every day. As COVID-19 began to spread, Ohio’s governor was quick to shut the state down. Imposing the swift restrictions had an immediate impact on auto dealerships, but signs of recovery are beginning to show.
As of May 11, the state permitted the resuming of general business. New safety guidelines allowed dealers to get back to business, and dealers all over the state are stepping up with new ways to provide a safe Sales and Service experience.
Service with Pickup and Drop-off
As reported in Business Journal Daily, Service pickup and drop off is a big part of how dealers are meeting the need of today’s customers. According to the article, Sweeney Buick GMC in Youngstown now offers no-contact drop off, and customers are given the option to pick up the vehicle or have it delivered after the work is done. Another Youngstown dealer, Klaben Ford Lincoln, is also offering pickup and delivery for service.
Pickup and delivery services often require two employees and a runner vehicle. Offering these services are a good first step, but the costs can add up over time. As rideshare services also come back online, dealers are using them to solve their vehicle delivery needs. Rideshare services help to free up staff by only requiring one employee and no runner vehicle. Many CDK dealers are using Hailer, an app offered on Fortellis, to book on-demand rides with full integration to their DMS.
Sales with Home Delivery
Signs of the recovery can be seen in Ohio’s Mahoning Valley. The Tribune Chronicle reports that automobile sales in the Mahoning Valley started to rebound in May after a dismal April —. 4,043 deliveries, almost double the 2,296 deliveries in April.
Dealers are adapting to safety concerns by providing a more flexible and customer-focused vehicle purchase experience. Internet-based companies like Carvana are promoting a touchless delivery process, including vehicle and paperwork delivery, so local dealers need to up their game to compete.
Vehicle delivery also requires two employees and a runner car to complete the process. Once again, rideshare services and Hailer can help by providing return transportation for the sales staff.
The Future Looks Bright
Automotive dealers are resilient and adapt to change when they need to. Kerrigan Advisors’ The Blue Sky Report® on dealership M&A recently shared its outlook for the industry: “The industry is still managing through the economic effects of the health crisis, but we see better days ahead thanks to the resilience of the dealer model that’s likely to thrive as dealerships reopen. In fact, with industry cost cuts and improved efficiencies, we expect auto retail will see significant improvements in profitability, making more money on less revenue, in the second half of 2020.”
Adapting their workflows and using new third-party services and productivity tools will help dealers will get through this and be stronger in the end.
Authored on Tue, 06/16/2020 - 14:38