Car dealerships change the way they do business to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines

Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 9:11 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Despite the pandemic, car dealerships are still up and running.

The experience for customers like Taylor Routley is different.

“I have tried to be very careful since this whole thing started, but my experience was great,” she said. “It was probably, ironically, the easiest car buying experience I have ever had. "

Routley said she felt more relaxed than before and with less pressure from sales people.

“For the first time ever buying a vehicle I feel like I was operating on my own time,” she said.

Josh Orthel is the general manager at McGrath Chevrolet in Dubuque.

He said they moved to a more online-based way of selling including virtual tours of the vehicles.

They have also had to change how they manage test drives.

“We do test drives where we can take them to their house and drop them off, they can have the vehicle drive it for a couple hours, they get back in touch with us and let us know if they want to purchase it or move forward with it,” he explained.

If a customer would rather have a salesperson with them in the car, then the employee sits on the backseat.

Orthel said sales and demand have been surprisingly high this year, but there have been obstacles.

“The supply was the hard part because the manufacturers had a hard time,” he explained. “Some of them were dealing with shut downs so they were not producing vehicles. "

Orthel said in many cases they did not have the cars customers wanted.

He said, despite this, they have had a really good year in terms of sales.

The key, he said, was communication.

“Our customers have been so transparent with communication and making sure that, if they do have a concern, they are telling us about it and that gives us the opportunity to really cater to them,” Orthel said.

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