The Coronavirus Could Drive Automobile Dealers to Ecommerce

Handling the coronavirus pandemic in america has resulted in temporary store closures, social distancing, and financial concerns. People and businesses are affected, including dealerships.

Vehicle sales in the U.S. might fall up to 20 percent in the near term, according to a March 19, 2020, CNBC report. USA Today reported that”March sales alone were down by roughly 38,000 vehicles.” While Motor Trend magazine pointed out that”Coronavirus wrecked China’s car sales, and America is likely next.”

Together these woes can drive the automobile business toward ecommerce sales and affect a few ecommerce-related applications and solutions.

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2 Problems

“To understand how the coronavirus could impact the U.S. car sector, we must first know what caused Honda sales in China to drop by 85 percent, Toyota to drop 70 percent, Volkswagen by 91 percent, and G.M. earnings were down 92 percent,” wrote Scott Evans in the aforementioned Motor Trend article.

“There are two principal factors tightly connected by one predominant event: the Chinese government’s decision to place a lot of the Hubei province on lockdown, including the gigantic capital city of Wuhan. By preventing roughly 60 million taxpayers of Wuhan and Hubei province from leaving their homes except for groceries or medical care, China created two large problems for the automobile industry. First, nobody could go outside to buy cars, and second, even though there were clients, automobile manufacturing plants were shuttered with no one to build the cars.”

At least the first of those problems — that shoppers are staying home or that dealerships are closed down — is happening in america, too.

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By way of instance, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered all non-essential companies to shut down beginning March 17, 2020, to help slow down the coronavirus spread. This arrangement created a 100-percent fall in automobile sales for Nevada’s automobile dealers.

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New Services

In response, many new and used automobile dealerships are trying concierge-like services and analyzing the potential for ecommerce.

Peterson Toyota, a franchise dealer in Boise, Idaho, posted a message on its site on March 18, 2020.

“Because of the coronavirus, we need all our clients to feel secure shopping with us. That is why we’re offering two options for purchasing your next car.”

The coronavirus is crushing car sales, so much so that some traders are adding new solutions to market vehicles, like at home test-drives and online documentation.

Shoppers in the area were still welcome to stop by Peterson’s dealership, or they could finish the majority of the purchasing process online, including getting an estimated trade-in offer and applying for funding. Test drives could be performed at home or in the customer’s place of work.

This approach is by no means unique. Many automobile dealers around the USA are trying similar procedures.

The owner of a single used car dealership said he thought the sorts of services his company was attempting — that included video calls and at-home test drives — would likely stick around longer than the coronavirus. In actuality, he thought mandated closures and waning sales would push the business closer to”e-contracting.”

Ecommerce for Vehicles

Within this circumstance, e-contracting is a particular form of ecommerce. New and used car dealers typically have state requirements which make the transaction somewhat more complicated than buying apparel, electronic equipment, or sporting products, as illustrations. But in the long run, the transaction (or much of it) could occur online.

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A couple of companies have already been using ecommerce to sell automobiles. 1 example is Carvana.

Founded in 2012, Carvana is an online used car dealer with over 20,000 vehicles in stock. The business made news early on with its free vehicle delivery solutions (next day for around 160 U.S. markets) and its enormous and showy used car vending machines (there were 23 by November 2019).

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In 2019, Carvana made $3.9 billion in revenue but dropped about $280 million in operations, based on its financial reports. Nonetheless, some think Carvana has helped to define automotive ecommerce similarly to how Amazon defined ecommerce normally.

For the enterprise to be successful, more automobile buyers have to be comfortable buying used cars without a test drive or without even seeing them in person.


Car dealers looking to mimic Carvana and make ecommerce sales will probably face a few roadblocks on the way.

Legal requirements could play a role. Some countries may still need physical forms. When these forms could be completed when a vehicle is delivered, automobile retailers will have to have a procedure for collecting or perhaps reprinting forms.

Delivery costs. Carvana sends your used car to your door by means of a flatbed truck or puts it in one of its vending machines. Smaller traders will probably only drive to your home, but there may still be significant associated costs.

Carvana will deliver a used car the following day in about 160 US markets.

Software updates. Many automobile traders rely on proprietary and obsolete software is much less functional than what is in the ecommerce sector.


By way of instance, car dealership websites already appear to be a normal ecommerce site, but they tend to run on locked-down site platforms and shut eco-systems.

Automobile dealer websites already seem to be ecommerce websites in a lot of ways, including having group pages and product detail pages (known as auto detail pages in context).

New competitors. Traditional car dealers may acquire new competitors. Any company with a trader’s license can obtain cars at auction and begin selling vehicles online. Some businesses could use their electronic marketing experience to get ahead of conventional car retailers.

Consumer sentiment. As a result of the coronavirus’s financial impact, car traders may be glad to try online revenue. Are consumers ready?

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