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Will COVID-19 dealership CERTIFICATION become a thing?

COVID-19 Certification

I believe this is potentially coming if this pandemic becomes a long-term situation within the United States or becomes a recurring annual issue. This certification would entail dealerships meeting a strict set of protocols to maintain the health and safety of not only their employees but the general public visiting the dealership. The lawyers are going to have a field day with this one.

This means the daily wipe-down of all high touch surfaces within the dealership. It also could mean a change to sick leave and an early detection system to determine an employee’s health. It could also mean eliminating an employee’s ability to work ill or showing "sick like" symptoms. It would change the test drive procedures and the vehicle intake process for trade-ins and service vehicles. It would also change the service loaner program. Every interaction point will need to be thought through and analyzed. I know Digital Retailing will help, but it isn’t the golden ticket; it is just one piece of a very complicated puzzle that will need to be solved for dealerships to embrace this new normal.

Another thing would be installing protective plexiglass at interaction points like the service drive or parts counter. I have already seen dealerships take this measure, and I believe we will see it accelerate. Also, it would change how we interact with individuals and handle personal space and proximity during times when we need to show a customer something relevant or important as in "see your brake pads are shot."

Safety measures like these will change the dynamic of operations and the experiences of both the employees and customer interactions. It will also burden dealerships with additional costs to install these safety protocols and maintain them. Dealerships already operated on thin margins. How will they handle these potentially new costs to continue to operate the dealership?

I have spent my whole life in this business, and one thing is certain. Dealers are super resilient, and if there is a way to sell and service vehicles, the industry will collectively figure it out and implement solutions that keep steel rolling off lots across the United States. The automotive industry will continue to find a way to thrive in these uncertain times.

What do think? Could there be a future COVID-19 Certification for dealers and small business?

Other than the usual social distancing, hand wash signs and sanitizing of high traffic surfaces – have you seen or heard of any out-of-the box operational ideas?

Wakeboarding, Surfing, reading

Jeff Kershner

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May 1, 2005
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@todd.smith I've been following quite a few scientist, especially Dr. Peter Hotez. Even before this virus made its way over here. Over the last 20 years we have had

2003 SARS
2009 H1N1
2012 Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
2014 EBOLA
2020 COVID-19

There's a bit of a trend and according to many scientist, this "trend" is likely to stick around.

I don't know if an actual Certification comes into play but after this one, COVID-19 I think people could become more sensitive to all the potential dangers of viruses and spreading.

We have been working on semi-homemade contraptions to disinfect the interiors of vehicles. We've been toying around with 3 different Mist/Fog machines combined with different concentrates of sanitizing liquids. If these work, they could be something you see more dealers and businesses using.
 

todd.smith

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Apr 11, 2009
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Great comments Jeff. I know AutoNation has been using a Clorox thing in service for a while you can check it out on their website. I really believe things are going to have to change in our processes and procedures to ensure employee and public safety. Interesting time to be alive for sure. Stay safe.
 

Jeff Kershner

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The real ones are the electrostatic misters

 

Retail My Ride

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Feb 14, 2020
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Free market will produce something before government mandates something. Been in this business for 40 years too and you are 100% correct that dealers are very resilient. Driven by demand and profit opportunities.