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Adapting to Change: How Car Dealerships are Selling Cars Safely During COVID-19

Title: How Car Sales Are Adapting During the Coronavirus OutbreakThe COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on various industries, including the automotive market. As shelter-in-place orders and social distancing measures are implemented to curb the spread of the virus, car dealerships have had to find innovative ways to continue their operations.

In this article, we will explore the changes in car sales during the outbreak and how technology has played a vital role in facilitating car purchases while adhering to safety protocols.

Car Sales during the Coronavirus Outbreak

Dealership closures and exceptions

During the height of the pandemic, many car dealerships were deemed non-essential and forced to close their doors temporarily. However, it is important to note that service departments often remained open to cater to essential repairs and maintenance.

This ensured that individuals who relied on their vehicles for vital tasks, such as healthcare workers, had access to crucial automotive services.

Remote car sales through internet departments

Car dealerships have quickly adapted to the changing circumstances by enhancing their online presence. Internet departments have become the go-to solution for tech-savvy shoppers who are keen on purchasing a car without stepping foot inside a physical dealership.

These online platforms provide pricing details, financing options, and the ability to negotiate through digital communication. Furthermore, home deliveries of purchased vehicles have become the new norm, eliminating the need for unnecessary contact and ensuring a seamless purchase process.

No-touch Test-Drives and Home Delivery

No-touch test-drives

Companies like Shift and Carvana have introduced innovative solutions to allow customers to test-drive vehicles safely. By implementing social distancing measures and utilizing technology, these companies now offer no-touch test-drives.

Customers can experience the car alone without a salesperson present. To maintain hygiene, the cars are thoroughly disinfected before and after each test-drive, ensuring customer safety.

Home delivery of vehicles

With the desire to minimize contact, car manufacturers like Tesla have embraced touchless delivery options. Purchasers can finalize their transaction entirely online and opt for home delivery instead of picking up the vehicle from a dealership.

Some dealerships have also followed suit by implementing Direct Drop programs, allowing customers to have their cars delivered directly to their doorstep. Additionally, dealership websites have started to provide detailed breakdowns of costs, including negotiation of prices and transparency regarding taxes and fees.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 outbreak has prompted the automotive industry to adapt quickly and find new ways to sell cars. The closure of physical dealerships has brought forth the rise of internet departments, allowing for remote purchases and home deliveries.

Furthermore, no-touch test-drives and touchless delivery options have become prevalent to meet the customer’s desire for safety during the pandemic. As technology continues to evolve, the automotive industry will further explore innovative solutions to provide a safe and convenient car-buying experience.


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Remote Negotiation and Final Inspection

Remote negotiation of car sales

Traditionally, negotiating the price of a vehicle involved face-to-face interactions at a dealership. However, amidst the coronavirus outbreak, car sales have shifted towards remote negotiations.

With physical showrooms closed or limited in their operations, customers have turned to alternative methods such as email and online communication to discuss pricing and options. Now more than ever, it’s essential for potential buyers to research and gather information before engaging in remote negotiations.

Many car dealerships provide internet quotes that can serve as a starting point for discussions. Additionally, there are pricing guides available online that can help buyers understand the fair market value of a vehicle.

These resources empower customers to make informed decisions and participate actively in the negotiation process. It’s important to note that factory closures during the pandemic have impacted the availability of certain car models.

As a result, some dealerships may face limited stock, leading to less flexibility in pricing. However, this situation also emphasizes the importance of negotiation and discovering potential deals that may arise due to reduced demand for specific models.

Final inspection before signing the contract

Once the negotiation process is complete, purchasers still require reassurance that the vehicle meets their expectations. Typically, this stage would involve an in-person inspection at a dealership or private seller’s location.

However, with the objective of minimizing contact, buyers have had to adapt to new inspection methods. To ensure a thorough inspection, buyers can request detailed photos and videos of the vehicle’s exterior and interior.

This enables a close examination of any potential issues such as scratches or dents that may not have been visible in initial online listings. Moreover, it’s important to ascertain the accuracy of the vehicle’s color representation in the provided media, as discrepancies can occur due to lighting conditions or digital rendering.

Cleanliness and sanitization are also paramount during these times. Buyers can inquire about the cleaning measures taken to ensure a hygienic vehicle.

Dealerships have implemented strict protocols to sanitize vehicles thoroughly, including disinfecting high-touch areas such as the steering wheel, gear shift, and door handles. These precautions offer peace of mind to buyers concerned about the transmission of the virus via contact surfaces.

Before finalizing the purchase, it is recommended to conduct a test-drive. Although virtual test-drives cannot fully replicate the experience, they do provide an opportunity to review the vehicle’s performance and handling.

Online resources, including professional and consumer reviews, can supplement this process by offering insights into the model’s driving characteristics. Buyers should also make sure to consider any warranties or guarantees provided by the sellers for added protection.

Once the buyer is satisfied with the inspection and test-drive, it is time to review the contract. Careful examination of all terms and conditions is crucial.

It’s advisable to seek clarification on any ambiguous clauses or additional fees. Dealerships may have adjusted their registration and paperwork processes to ensure a contactless transaction.

Buyers should enquire about electronic signatures or remote notarization options, easing the paperwork burden. In summary, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the automotive industry to adopt new methods for remote negotiation and final inspections.

Through online communication and research, customers can actively engage in the negotiation process. Detailed photographs and videos, along with cleanliness assurances, allow buyers to inspect the vehicle remotely.

Virtual test-drives and comprehensive reviews provide additional insights, leading to well-informed decisions. It is vital for buyers to review the contract carefully, addressing any concerns and seeking clarity to ensure a smooth transaction.

By embracing these alternative approaches, car sales continue despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic. As the industry adapts, customers are finding value in the convenience and safety offered by remote negotiation and inspection methods.


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In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes in the way car sales are conducted. Dealerships have adapted by utilizing internet departments and home deliveries, allowing for remote purchases and minimizing in-person contact.

No-touch test-drives and touchless delivery options ensure customer safety and convenience. Remote negotiation and thorough remote inspections have become essential steps in the car-buying process.

By embracing these new methods, the automotive industry has shown resilience and the ability to adapt in challenging times. The importance of thorough research, clear communication, and attention to detail cannot be overstated.

As we navigate through this unprecedented period, these innovative solutions continue to provide a safe and convenient car-buying experience for customers.

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