A pandemic changes everything about the world. It alters our sense of safety, old ideas of normalcy and patterns of behavior. But it can also bring out the best in us as we’re forced to overcome obstacles through teamwork, tenacity and courage. The truck dealers of America have not sat still during COVID-19. Just the opposite: they’ve worked tirelessly to keep employees and customers safe, keep commerce rolling, and support their local communities during this unprecedented time.
Last month, ATD asked dealers to share their community support with us and the stories I’ve heard have been nothing short of inspiring. Dealerships have donated and delivered meals to medical professionals at local hospitals; sanitized trucks for customers and first responders at no charge; donated time and money to those in sudden need; and, in countless other ways, have gone above and beyond to support those around them. These acts of selflessness reinforce that dealers are vital to their communities, with or without a crisis.
ATD has been working at breakneck speed to communicate the latest news and federal updates during this time. Please express your gratitude to the NADA and ATD staff who are working tirelessly on our behalf. Our association has been instrumental in preserving our business and keeping us safe throughout the past few months. Dealerships were deemed essential businesses by the Administration in March—thanks to proactive steps ATD and NADA took in Washington. Our situation would have been much more dire had we not had the right to remain open and continue selling and servicing trucks. Today, many American businesses are slowly beginning to reopen and I’m happy to say dealers haven’t missed a beat.
I am proud of the wealth of resources for dealers, particularly the NADA Coronavirus Hub, which provides us with the latest federal updates for COVID-19, breaking industry news, and the impact on local dealerships. All our great truck dealer stories can be found there so visit the site if you haven’t yet. I urge dealers to take advantage of the live links on the Coronavirus Hub and the daily coronavirus update email, which includes guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Main Street Lending Program. ATD has also outlined numerous new provisions released by the Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration, U.S. Treasury, Department of Labor and many more. Take advantage of these government resources if you need them.
Please register for any of our Dealership Lifeline Series webinars if you haven’t yet. The Lifeline Series is an initiative that helps us navigate business realities and new regulations in this environment. Each webinar features vital information that impacts dealership operations. Recordings of all webinars in the Lifeline Series are accessible to NADA and ATD members 24/7, free of charge. Be sure to check out the Best Ideas in the Worst of Times from ATD 20 Groups.
And consider registering for ATD’s next webinar on Monday, May 18: Best Ideas from ATD 20 Groups, Part 2: In Times of COVID-19 Pandemic. Learn what the best dealers in our industry are doing to survive and prosper in today’s environment.
Finally, all ATD members should review best practices, like CDC-backed guidance designed to keep our working environments safe. We offer the following resources for dealerships operating during the pandemic:
- Coronavirus Blog: Managing Service Operations: Making it Through the COVID-19 Pandemic and What to Do If an Employee Tests Positive
- FAQs: Dealership Health and Safety Concerns During a Pandemic
- Driven Guide: Safely Operating your Dealership During a Pandemic
On behalf of ATD, I commend and thank all dealers for your strength throughout this time! This is not an easy business to begin with, and the complexities of a pandemic have made our lives harder. But there are bright spots: we are learning the virtual platforms that keep our businesses moving at lighting speed; we are adapting to new consumer trends that will certainly stay post-pandemic; and we are more cognizant of our health and will probably never take it for granted again. Let’s continue the path forward. Know that ATD is with you every step of the way as you battle the wide-ranging effects of COVID-19.
To all dealers and their families: Keep rising to the occasion and stay safe and well!