In March, when the coronavirus began to spread across the U.S., state and local leaders ordered people to stay home to limit exposure.
States generally deemed auto repair essential, keeping service operations open. But rules for vehicle sales varied. Some states required dealerships to close showrooms and sell vehicles online. Some initially prohibited sales altogether. Still others allowed in-person sales. Dealers wanted clarity.
Before the month was up, advocacy efforts would mobilize around national guidance to replace the state patchwork. Groups including the National Automobile Dealers Association, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, the American International Automobile Dealers Association and dealership technology company Cars.com made the case that vehicles may have to be replaced, not just serviced, to keep critical services and workers moving.