As the world continues to adjust the realities of the coronavirus pandemic, car dealerships and manufacturers are taking steps to safely reopen dealerships to customers. While many manufacturers and dealerships are offering partial or fully online purchasing processes, virtual appointments and at-home test drives in this new era of social distancing, there are still parties on both sides of the car-buying process who prefer an in-person experience.
As areas across the U.S. begin to reopen, here’s how manufacturers and dealers are working to ensure that the physical dealership is a safe place for customers and employees alike:
“Dealers who enroll in the CLEAN program have agreed to follow CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines and to use Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleansers in connection with the cleaning of their facilities, including high-traffic areas, and the cleaning of new, used and serviced customer vehicles,” according to a statement from GM. “Dealers who enroll in the program have committed to following the CDC guidelines and practices upon enrollment.”
Hyundai’s Clean Assurance program provides dealerships with cleaning products from Bioesque Solutions, recommends appropriate social-distancing measures and provides dealer training “with recommendations for staffing, sales and service operations, customer communications, social distancing protocols, and cleaning and sanitization procedures,” according to a Hyundai statement.
You can watch a detailed video about Hyundai’s Clean Assurance program below.
In addition to its Clean Assurance program, Hyundai says “nearly all” of its dealerships now offer digital retailing — including a Click to Buy program to purchase a Hyundai from home — and “most” offer home delivery. For Hyundai owners, “almost all” dealerships are offering pickup and delivery for vehicles needing service and have a digital signature feature for service authorization.
According to Hyundai, its dealerships are “closely monitoring the situation in their local market and acting accordingly based on state, county and city ordinances.”
The storied British manufacturer, self-proclaimed maker of “the best car in the world,” resumed its customer hand-off ceremonies at its Goodwood production facility in England with the in-person pickup of a brand-new Wraith. According to Rolls-Royce, “The handover ceremony was conducted with the customary courtesies, sympathetically finessed where required, to comply with the marque’s strict hygiene and social distancing policies.”
Those policies also extend to the production facility, where there are additional hygienic and social-distancing measures in place, including additional hand-washing stations, established one-way walking paths and rearranged seating in public areas. Employees are also required to wear a mask at all times on the production floor.
While Volkswagen has yet to publicize a manufacturer-supported plan for its dealerships to operate and serve customers in person in the U.S., the manufacturer is launching its Sign Anywhere program. Sign Anywhere enables shoppers to purchase a Volkswagen entirely online without having to leave the comfort and safety of home. The service is operated in partnership with automotive dealership technology services provider CDK Global. Ten dealerships offered Sign Anywhere as part of a pilot program beginning in April, blazing a trail for the current expansion to “approximately 420” Volkswagen dealerships nationwide.
Volvo is providing its dealerships “with a unique playbook based on information from the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] and local and industry guidance” that will help dealerships implement cleaning, sanitization and social distancing policies. It’s also providing signage, key bags designed to reduce contamination and a vehicle cleaning and sanitization procedure designed to protect customers and employees. Dealerships can also purchase “predesigned plexiglass hygiene barriers, hands-free door openers, steering wheel and seat coverings, specialized cleaning and sanitizing materials, and … disposable masks and gloves through a centralized sourcing process.”
For those who still feel more comfortable staying at home, Volvo will continue to offer online shopping via a virtual showroom, as well as home delivery, and valet pickup and dropoff for vehicles needing service.
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