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Monday, 30 March 2020 19:06

Family-Owned PA Auto Dealerships Hold onto Hope as Coronavirus Crisis Rocks Main Street

Written by Jen Samuel, Daily Local News
Sky Motor Cars team members include, left to right, Kevin Reece, Justin Spoont, owner Brett Sholder and Andrew Rennard. Sky Motor Cars team members include, left to right, Kevin Reece, Justin Spoont, owner Brett Sholder and Andrew Rennard. Daily Local News


With the economy on hold, family-owned dealerships feel the hurt.

“Across Pennsylvania, approximately 52,000 are employed by new car dealerships, another 50,000 at used car dealerships, for approximately 102,000 employees,” said Melanie Stine, director of communications for the Pennsylvania Automobile Association (PAA.)


“Gov. (Tom) Wolf, utilizing the list provided by the Department of Homeland Security, in fact deemed vehicle repair and parts sales as essential during this health crisis. Many dealerships remain open, serving their communities’ vehicle repair needs during this difficult time,” Stine said.


Recently, Wolf's administration ruled the sales departments of statewide car dealerships are "non-essential" businesses in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.


Meanwhile to the south, the governor of Maryland deemed the auto industry an "essential" service, legally enabling sales to continue to meet demand.


Dealerships in Pennsylvania are worried they are losing what few sales there are in this climate to out-of-state dealers and national online giants.


Stine said the PAA is working with the Wolf administration on the merits of including vehicle sales as life-sustaining, exempt businesses during the coronavirus crisis.


"Frequently, vehicles need to be replaced for a variety of reasons to support life-sustaining functions, often tied to repair and collision situations and currently this is not permitted in Pennsylvania," Stine said. "Other states have recognized this need and PAA is encouraging the administration to rule similarly and provide for a limited interaction sales model, whether by appointment only or through online sales to satisfy the needs of the community while insuring social distancing and limited physical interaction.”


Auto dealerships are a staple on most Main Streets in America. Many people are wondering what can be done, right now, to support and help Pennsylvanians of the automobile industry.


“Pennsylvania’s car dealers encourage all Pennsylvanians to support their local businesses during this health crisis,” Stine stated. “Without a doubt all local businesses are suffering, and patronizing these businesses during this difficult time is paramount to preventing an economic crisis to result from the health crisis we are facing.”


Stine said all Pennsylvania auto dealerships are struggling to do what is best for their customers and their employees during this difficult time.

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