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Monday, 27 April 2020 18:43

State of Automotive Dealer Panel Provides Key Takeaways and Tips for Helping Business Survive COVID-19

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The State of the Automotive webinar was co-hosted by Facebook Automotive, IHS Markit and Dealers United. Left to right are Brent Parres, partner manager at Facebook Automotive; Drew Cameron, tier III automotive marketing for IHS Markit; and Peter Petersen, CEO of Dealers United.  The State of the Automotive webinar was co-hosted by Facebook Automotive, IHS Markit and Dealers United. Left to right are Brent Parres, partner manager at Facebook Automotive; Drew Cameron, tier III automotive marketing for IHS Markit; and Peter Petersen, CEO of Dealers United. 

Index

The 2020 Q1 State of Automotive webinar, co-hosted by Facebook Automotive, IHS Markit and Dealers United, addressed how dealerships are handling the impact of COVID-19.

Panelists provided five key takeaways automotive businesses should be incorporating into their business plans to ensure they come out on the other side of this, and some of their shared tips may be beneficial for collision repair shops.

 

The webinar featured eight panelists: Matt Sneed, director of marketing for Power Ford in Albuquerque, NM; Michael Renaud, vice president of Leader In Cars Auto Group in NY; Bobby Sight, director of operations for Rob Sight Ford in Kansas City, MO; Stu Berkley, general manager of Middletown Honda in Scotchtown, NY; Chris Beaton, general manager at Steele Valley Chevrolet in Nova Scotia, Canada; Brent Parres, partner manager at Facebook Automotive; Drew Cameron, tier III automotive marketing for IHS Markit, and Pete Petersen, CEO of Dealers United.

 

Sales have declined in dealerships across the country, as well as collision repair shops. Of the polled attendees, 81% of those dealerships had experienced an impact on their sales department as a result of COVID-19.

 

Ensuring success during this trying time begins with communicating with employees. It’s imperative that shop and dealership owners are taking care of their people, listening to them and making them feel as safe as possible. Shops must follow guidelines issued by the CDC as well as local agencies, including social distancing and encouraging sick associates to stay home, and these efforts should be explained to the associates.

 

“It’s all about knowledge," Cameron said.

Panelists also recommended sending internal leadership videos at least twice each week and more frequently if there’s a new development. It’s also important to use technology, such as Facebook Groups and Zoom meetings, to make it easy for the team to stay in touch, particularly if any remote working arrangements have been implemented.

 

Leaders are responsible for “taking in information, building a plan, being ethical and above all, treating their team with respect,” according to Petersen.

 

Industry leaders should also communicate with one another to determine strategies and share with their teams, and in addition to exploring programs to support the business, such as government grants and loans, owners should be aware of the resources employees may need in the event of a furlough, which can be provided to aid them in the unfortunate event.


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