In mid-March, as dealerships watched demand for new and used vehicles shrink across the country, Cox Automotive worked to help its dealership customers with a series of discounts.
The moves included cutting subscription fees by half in April and May for its various retail products and a 25 percent discount on Autotrader subscription listings fees in June.
But like its dealership customers, Cox had to go into cost-cutting mode to compensate for the economic toll of coronavirus-related business restrictions. Cox forecasts a 25 percent revenue decline this year because of the virus, a spokesman said. The company's annually.
Cox said this month it will furlough more than 12,500 employees — about 10,000 of them in the U.S. — and executives including President Sandy Schwartz will forgo some or all of their salaries.
Most of the furloughed employees work for Cox's Manheim wholesale auction unit, which shifted to all-digital sales in March.
Manheim's wholesale transactions plunged 75 percent in the first full week of April, compared with the same period in 2019. But almost all of its auction sites were operating at some capacity by the end of April with digital-only sales.
Manheim President Grace Huang has acknowledged it will be difficult to imagine restarting shoulder-to-shoulder auction sales any time soon, even as restrictions on large gatherings of people are relaxed. But the company had been investing in digital tools before the onset of the pandemic and was well-positioned for a quick switch to remote buying and selling.
Last year, almost half of Manheim's sales were done online.