What Steps Should I Take to Protect Myself During Car Shopping Amid the Pandemic?
A woman wearing a protective face mask in a car
It seems as if you don't have to do anything.
As our world's population continues to adjust to the sad realities of the pandemic, car manufacturers and dealerships are trying to pave the way toward reopening dealerships for walk-in customers.
While some dealerships and manufacturers may be offering fully online or partially online purchase processes, at-home test drives, virtual conferences, there are still quite a few people out there who prefer the good old fashioned in-person experience.
As many areas across the world begin to reopen, let's quickly go over how many American auto brands and dealerships are ensuring that their physical dealerships are a safe haven for customers and employees alike:
GM recently invited all of its dealership franchises, which happen to represent GMC, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick models, to participate in what they're calling the CLEAN program. Dealerships who agree to follow will have agreed to abide by CDC's (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines alongside using Environmental Protection Agency certified cleaners to disinfect their facilities.
In addition, these dealerships will also be responsible for cleaning used, serviced or new vehicles so that they are safe for employees and customers, while also cleaning up high-traffic areas in their facilities. The spokesperson for GM concluded their statement by saying, "Dealers who enroll in the program have committed to following the CDC guidelines and practices upon enrollment."
Hyundai also followed suit by launching their Clean Assurance program, which has the responsibility of providing dealerships with cleaning products that have been provided by Bioesque Solutions. This program also recommends following all the WHO approved social-distancing measures and have been providing employees at various dealerships with social distancing protocols, customer communications, service and sales operations and sanitization and clearing procedures.
You can also watch a more detailed video about Hyundai's Clean Assurance Program on YouTube.
Ah, the self proclaimed 'maker of the best car in the world' and famous British manufacturer, has also resumed their famous vehicle hand-off ceremonies, starting with their Goodwood production facility, nestled in England. This is where they are offering customers the chance to pick up a brand new Rolls-Royce Wraith with utmost confidence in their expert cleanliness.
According to their spokesperson, handover ceremonies are now being conducted with all the customary courtesies which have all been sympathetically finessed wherever they may be required, so as to comply with social distancing and hygiene requirements.
All of the policies mentioned by this spokesperson also extended toward all of their production facilities in the US, and they have all been checked for social-distancing and hygiene measures, including the basic hand-wash stations in every corridor or room. The spokesperson further mentioned how their facilities now also adhere to one-way walking paths and rearranged seating at the production floor, where, of course, everyone is asked to wear a mask at all times.
While this automaker has yet to publicly boast their manufacturer supported plan for dealerships so they can attract American customers to their latest models, they are placing most of their focus on launching a Sign Anywhere program. As its name suggests, Sign Anywhere will enable car shoppers to buy Volkswagens online without ever having to leave the safety and comfort of their home.
The Sign Anywhere service was introduced in partnership with CDK Global, which is an automotive dealership technology service provider. Currently, 10 Volkswagen dealerships are offering the Sign Anywhere program as a pilot strategy for the approximately 420 dealerships nationwide.
Finally, Volvo has started providing a number of dealerships with a 'unique playbook' of sorts, that is based on the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and industry and local guidance platforms. This playbook will help these dealerships implement social distancing, sanitization and cleaning policies in a manner that both their employees and customers can comfortably walk in, without being afraid for their health.
In addition to this playbook, Volvo is also making the extra effort of providing its dealerships with a vehicle sanitization and cleaning procedure and key bags and signage that are designed in a manner that they can reduce contamination. What's more, these dealerships are also being provided by specialized sanitization and cleaning materials, seat and steering wheel coverings, hands-free door opening tools, predesigned hygiene plexiglass barriers and, of course, disposable gloves and masks. All of these equipment and tools are being provided to the dealerships across the nation via their centralized sourcing process.
For those auto shoppers who feel comfortable checking out car deals while still in their PJs and at home, most auto brands are ready to comply with your demands by making the process as seamless as possible.
For those who still prefer visually inspecting a car before outright buying it (and for those who don't approve of VR test drives), this post has already proved how dealerships have gone out of their way to make their facilities safe for themselves and for their customers.
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