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Navigating Auto Dealership Operations During the Pandemic

June 2, 2020

A Message from IAT’s Loss Control Department

The COVID-19 pandemic has required us all to modify our practices and adapt to changes on a personal and business level. Businesses that rely on personal interaction with the public must consider how this will affect their operations while keeping their employees and customers safe. This can be especially challenging for auto dealerships as they ponder how to continue sales and service operations in this current environment. 

As we all know, adhering to social distancing recommendations is imperative in our ability to slow the spread of the virus. But how can your customers go about the typical vehicle sales process six feet apart? Below are some guidelines to be considered:

  • Encourage customers to use your website to remotely search and view vehicles.
  • Use phone or email to complete most aspects of the sale. Trade-ins, financing, add-ons like extended warranties, interior protection services, or prepaid maintenance items can also be settled remotely.  
  • Move sales to appointment-only and consider closing your showroom to appointment-only customers. Appointments should have a limited amount of people as stated by local gathering guidance.
  • Before and after test drives, the vehicle should be wiped down and sanitized. Consumer Reports offers guidelines for proper cleaning inside the car. This can be found here.  
  • Adopt new test drive procedures:
    1. Have a salesperson drive the vehicle off lot to meet the customer.
    2. Ensure a copy of the customer’s license and insurance is obtained.
    3. Provide a copy of the test drive route to the customer, with the expectation that this is the only approved route.
    4. Consider following the customer in another vehicle or leading them through the route.
    5. Or, you may consider bringing the vehicle to the customer’s residence, where they can inspect the vehicle and potentially take it for a test drive.

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