COVID-19 Update: NADA and Alliance Seek ‘Essential Business’ Consideration for Dealers

By Desiree Homer

Lobbyists Continue to Push to Keep Dealership Doors Open

Amid the ever-changing business operations mandates in effect now and in the works for the coming weeks, dealers should know that NADA and Alliance for Automotive Innovation continue to work on their behalf. Both organizations have submitted official request letters to President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Cabinet members seeking national guidance and ‘essential business’ classification for dealerships. As the landscape changes for many industries with government-imposed closures and industry-specific relief efforts, dealers should know they have a voice in their corner.

A Fight to Combat Forced Dealership Closures

As the consuming public is forced into quarantine, and businesses are asked to close their doors to reduce the spread of COVID-19, those deemed essential business operations are encouraged to remain open and functioning. NADA and Alliance are both seeking such a classification for auto retailers nationwide. The official statement, outlined in a letter signed by CEOs of both organizations, insists on the importance of public vehicle repair and maintenance in these turbulent market conditions.

Even in Quarantine, Consumers Still Need Service

The requests to government officials seek to secure any national incentives or relief that may become available to aid automotive retailers, in addition to the ‘essential’ classification. As President Trump announces his recognition of impact and relief consideration for various industries, Alliance and NADA are hoping to position dealerships at the top of that list as well. The mission intends to keep the nation’s motor vehicle fleets safe and operational. Meaning, many consumers will still need their vehicles to be serviced or repaired. Technicians can still be performing warranty work, and addressing vehicle recalls.

Your State Governors Have Also Received Letters

NADA and Alliance aren’t just hitting Washington for retailer relief. They have also lobbied on behalf of dealerships at the state levels, as well. Letters requesting ‘essential business’ consideration have been sent to sitting governors in all 50 states. Senate and House leaders have also been included in the official request efforts. Policymakers are hearing about the importance of statewide dealer support in these complex conditions. While sales operations may be stalled temporarily, there is an ongoing need to keep vehicles running safely. The businesses that are open have pools of employees reporting to work – and relying on their cars to get there. CEO and president of the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA), Cody Lusk, agrees. He also released a statement insisting dealerships are essential to their markets and communities.

Some Regions Already Closed Due to Nonessential Shut Down Orders

Penske Automotive Group has already closed doors to the sales operations for dealerships in California, along with CarMax and others. According to the California New Car Dealers Association, the nonessential business closure was ordered for many counties, including San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, and Santa Clara. Automotive repair is considered an ‘essential business,’ allowing parts and service departments to remain operational.

While the world shelters at home, there are a handful of industries that are required to stay open due to the ongoing need for services. As you prepare and adapt in place, know there are key steps being taken on your behalf and fighting for your relevance in this uncertain time. Peter Welch, the CEO of NADA and John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance, are just a few who are working behind the scenes to ensure those in power recognize the significance of your dealership operations.