COVID-19 Update: Buy A Car, We’ll Pay Your Rent

By Desiree Homer 

One Dealer Thinks Outside the Box to Lure Car Buyers

As your dealership prepares to reopen the showroom, whether it be over the next few days or the next several weeks, you’ll no doubt have a plan to entice those customers back to buying. With all the automaker incentives, buyers may be attracted more to your new inventory. We recently shared how one dealership took those payment deferment perks and applied the same offer to used inventory as well. But there could be even more, non-traditional ways of sweetening the deal at the desk. One dealer is offering to pay a customer’s mortgage or rent, as part of the car-buying process. It demonstrates how getting creative to adjust to the times, is how dealers are getting through the pandemic slump.

The Dealer Offering Something New

The Maryland-based dealership, Koons of Silver Spring Inc., is advertising, “Let us pay your rent or mortgage!” It’s certainly not a normal way to attract new buyers, but of course, nothing about these last few months has been normal either. The Washington D.C. area dealer group is already offering zero-percent financing, home delivery, and payment deferments across many of its Ford, Lincoln, and Mazda models. But now, the dealer is reallocating its television ad dollars toward consumer incentives, like paying their rent.

The Fine Print

The offer to pay a car-buying customer’s rent or mortgage does cap out at $3,000, or two months’ worth of payments. But it’s not a joke. Koons owner, Alex Perdikis, is taking to social media to promote his ‘housing bonus’ and disarming any customers who wonder what the catch is. Perdikis says the mortgage payment offer is the dealership’s way of offering a form of local, legitimate relief. And to ensure he can cover the costs he’s cut back on the auto group’s television ad budgets. He also reassures his customers; there is still room to haggle, too.

Now That’s How You Make a Comeback

Alex Perdikis shared how he came up with the idea. It was early March, and the country was clinging to news headlines about the coming consumer stimulus payments. He realized then, just how many people were terrified of making the next month’s rent or mortgage payments. He had a television ad budget, not making much of an impact considering the shut-down conditions. There couldn’t be a better way to allocate those dollars than to give back with a non-traditional, incentive. He said, “We’re canceling all advertising. Let’s see if we can give it back to our clients.” Throughout this month, Koons has surged its vehicle sales, almost back to margins the retailer hit in 2019.

Alex Perdikis and his auto group decided it was the perfect time to “get back to basics and do this as a good neighbor.” And his thinking outside the box (and on the treadmill one morning in March), has turned into a creative incentive for customers to buy cars. In turn, he’s able to provide “peace of mind to get through the next couple of months.” Using this latest offer, in conjunction with his brands’ existing initiatives, Koons is making a comeback.