Strategies for Car Dealers to Navigate COVID-19

car dealer with customers in masks

Although the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the automotive industry, J.D. Power states that overall car sales should regain its footing over the remainder of the year, thanks in substantial part to automaker incentives.

While many dealerships across the nation are reopening as business closure orders expire, the COVID-19 crisis has prompted many automakers and car dealers to go back to the drawing board and devise new business strategies that appeal to consumer demand for more online and personalized services.

Here are a few strategies car dealers may want to consider implementing to navigate the COVID-19 crisis:

Create a comprehensive, online car-shopping experience for consumers.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important for dealerships to consider shifting more of the car-shopping experience online. While online car shopping was already trending before COVID-19, a recent survey found that an increase from 45 to 48 percent of car buyers want to handle price negotiations online. Keeping this in mind, it’s important that car dealers provide consumers with the flexibility to choose how much or how little of the car-buying process they want to conduct online.

Offer curbside, pick-up or delivery options.

As consumer reluctance to patronize brick-and-mortar businesses in person continues, car dealers may also want to consider offering car buyers the option of having their newly purchased vehicle picked up or delivered, provided dealers can do so under applicable law.

Continue to focus on fostering a safe environment for your staff and customers.

Just because more of the car-buying process is trending towards the digital, online experience doesn’t mean showrooms are obsolete. In a recent CNBC interview, Sonic Automotive CEO David Smith noted that while car buyers may do most of their shopping online, they still want to come into the dealership, test-drive and make sure they like the vehicle. Keeping this in mind, car dealers should continue to focus on presenting a safe, sanitized environment for customers and staff, including continuing to follow CDC guidelines and practicing social distancing.

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Credit Acceptance is working hard to ensure car dealers enrolled in our auto finance programs can sell more cars and make more money. Last year, we paid enrolled dealers nearly $4 billion in total funding and $180 million in Portfolio Profit.

If your dealership is looking to increase its bottom line and market share, fill out the form on our Become a Dealer page to learn more about the benefits of joining our program.