By NADA Staff
After weeks of muted impact, the coronavirus is beginning to negatively impact sales at dealerships, according to a WSJ analysis today by reporter Mike Colias.
With showrooms slowing down, factory executives and industry analysts have slashed their sales forecasts, some by as much as half in the short term. Just a month ago, economists were predicting another robust sales year.
In response, OEMs have begun kicking off significant incentive programs. General Motors earlier this week announced zero percent financing for 84 months for qualified buyers. Other OEMs, including Honda, have idled factories in the short term. Dealerships have seen sales off by 25-50%.
For dealerships the impact is sudden. According to the Journal:
“If we have to pay people to not come in, financially we can’t do that for long,” [said Auburn Volkswagen]. For now, Volkswagen AG is trying to soften the blow by offering salespeople another $100 for each vehicle they sell on commission, he said. Some dealerships, including Auburn Volkswagen, are trying to lure in wary buyers by putting a bigger emphasis on their online-sales services, including those that allow shoppers to skip the showroom and take delivery of their new vehicle at home.