Coronavirus: Car dealerships adjusting business strategy during COVID-19 pandemic

Business

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — “I’ve been doing this 26 years and I’ve seen nothing like it.”

Businesses across the nation have had to change the way they operate during this pandemic.

This including essential businesses operating here in Tennessee, like car dealerships.

Employees at Ted Russell Ford on Kingston Pike have had to get creative on how they service customers in need of a repair or a new vehicle.

“It’s totally different,” says Lincoln Ford dealer Andy White. “All we do now is clean and just make sure everything is sanitized and make it as safe as we can for the general public, not only that but the associates at each of our dealerships.”

Whether it’s test driving a car, closing a sale or fixing a part on a car, the staff is taking extra precautions to stay safe.

White says, “We try to sanitize each car every time someone gets out of one. We take the proper wipes and things with us, we cover steering wheels. The touch points of the car are always wiped down when we enter and exit the vehicle.”

General sales manager Dwayne Griffith reiterating the measures they are taking to keep their employees who continue to work, and any guests that enter the dealership, safe.

“We’re trying to do the six-foot-rule as much as possible,” Griffith says, “Our finance guys when they finish with a deal, or our sales people, they clean their office once they finish with a customer. Wipe them down [the office] with Clorox wipes and things of that nature, so [we’re] trying to do everything that we can.”

If people are in need of a car or service, but do not want to leave the comfort of their home during this time, Ted Russell Ford staff can bring the car to you.

“We take a folding table with us, we take our own pens and we’ll set it up in their driveway or garage,” White says, “We’ll put the paperwork there with exactly where they need to sign. Then we’ll bring everything back with us so we’re not contaminating anything in their home. We’re bringing all of our own stuff that’s wiped down and sanitized. It’s a very different process but it seems to be working pretty well.”

White says they are also seeing their sales supported online through their website.

While the three major automakers, GM, Ford and Chrysler Fiat, have temporarily halted production in the U.S. over coronavirus concerns, White says they are still good on their car supply.

“Eventually it will affect that, but right now we still have a great amount of cars,” he said.

The Ted Russell Ford dealership has not had as many guests as they normally would due to the pandemic, White says they still welcome them.

“If you are symptom free and in good shape then yes we want to take care of you like we always have.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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