The three-store dealership group held the event for front-line workers on April 22. Sellers partnered with Legacy Service Solutions to apply an antimicrobial spray that Hogan says can make a vehicle resistant to the virus for up to four months. Legacy of Waterford, Mich., provides sterilization services to businesses.
At the Sellers Buick-GMC event in Farmington Hills, Mich., 66 vehicles were sanitized and coated with the protective spray. Sellers Subaru in Macomb, Mich., sanitized 63 vehicles at its corresponding event.
While Sellers is using the Legacy product to sanitize vehicles going through its service departments, the spray is not yet being offered to customers as a standalone service. Hogan told Automotive News that he is working to get service technicians trained in applying the coating solution so the dealership can offer it to all customers.
At Sands Chevrolet in Phoenix, steam is the sanitization tool of choice. The dealership started using a steam service to sanitize vehicles in the service department at the end of March. It is being offered to any community member for free.
The process of steaming the car takes less time than vacuuming, said Service Manager Derek Haddad. Through May 26, the dealership had sanitized 1,527 vehicles.
Sands Chevrolet started the program to help the community and keep its employees working, Haddad said. The service is a way to keep technicians busy and productivity high in the service department. Furloughing technicians would have cost more in the long run than giving away steam services, he said. It was better for the technicians to be busy so they could stay up on their skills.
Customers have had a hard time believing the service is free.
"When they come in and pick their car up and it's washed, vacuumed and steamed, that's when they realize there is no catch," Haddad said.
Sonic Automotive Inc. is providing free vehicle sanitization services to all first responders and front-line workers during the pandemic at the company's franchised dealerships and its EchoPark standalone used- vehicle stores.
"We will continue to do our job by supporting all the essential workers with their automotive needs," Sonic says in a video on its YouTube channel inviting those workers in for the service. "Together, we will get through this."
In Rockford, Ill., Lou Bachrodt Auto Group is offering free vehicle sanitization for all first responders and medical personnel.
Service Director Mark Yalda said every vehicle that comes in for service at the four-store group has its steering wheel, driver's seat, door handle and gear selector disinfected on the way in and out. The retailer is offering full vehicle sanitization to customers for $29.95.
"When people see their vehicles getting disinfected before and after, they are appreciative and happy that we are taking extraordinary measures," Yalda said.
As of Wednesday, May 27, 3,290 vehicles have been sanitized in Lou Bachrodt's service departments, he said.
It's a way the retailer can help thank those working front-line jobs, Yalda said: "They're like hidden heroes."