Amid the coronavirus crisis, Americans, businesses and the federal government are all living a new reality – Americans are working from home, nonessential businesses are closing their doors and the U.S. government is working to contain the spread of the pandemic.
To protect its residents against COVID-19, some states and local municipalities, particularly those in hotspot coronavirus-infected areas, have taken urgent action forcing the closure of businesses deemed as nonessential, such as movie theatres, shopping malls and museums.
By contrast, these state and local governments have allowed essential businesses, including healthcare facilities, pharmacies and grocery stories, to remain open.
The Trump administration issued guidance classifying automotive service as essential. While the essential nature of automotive service is not really in question, as service and repair is required to keep America’s fleet of cars and trucks on the road.
But many sales at the dealership constitute essential business as well. Because when leases are up, or cars or trucks are totaled or stop working entirely, Americans still need transportation.
- According to J.D. Power, more than 1.8 million vehicle leases are set to expire between March and July 2020; meaning 1.8 million consumers will need to visit their local dealership to either extend their lease, purchase their leased vehicle or return their vehicle and choose a new vehicle.
- Furthermore, in 2019, more than 46,800 light vehicles were sold each day. For those who don’t currently own or lease a vehicle, coronavirus has limited their access to public transportation, leaving many without a mode of transportation. These Americans must be able to visit the country’s 18,000 dealerships that can offer personal, safe transportation.
- Each day roughly 34,400 vehicles scrapped, according to a 2020 report by CCC Information Services. These vehicles are leaving the U.S. fleet and need to be replaced by new or used vehicles sitting on dealership lots.
Essential Heavy Truck Sales are Essential
And it’s not just cars and light trucks. In light of the growing demand for medical supplies, food and personal consumer products, heavy-duty trucks are more vital than ever. Commercial trucks are delivering America’s basic necessities. With an increase in demand, commercial fleet operators may decide that now is the right time to add a new vehicle from their local dealership to help meet this demand. We must allow dealerships to help fill the demand.
These types of sales are not optional, they are essential to ensure folks have access to transportation, and goods and supplies keep moving. Personal automobiles are vital to ensuring access to life’s essential needs, including food and healthcare services. Trucks are necessary to move goods and supplies. Certain types of sales are essential, especially in the new reality where social distancing is the norm and public transportation is no longer an option.
Our new reality is one of uncertainty as we work together as a country to stop the spread of coronavirus and keep Americans safe. To keep the country healthy and give Americans the ability to procure their basic needs, vehicle sales departments at dealerships must remain open—our country can’t risk losing access to personal transportation.