Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect number regarding layoffs in Michigan.
Ken Garff Automotive Group not only faced setbacks in two key markets during the past two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, it also lost its chairman, Robert Garff, 77, who died of complications from the coronavirus March 29.
Ken Garff has 49 stores in California, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Texas and Utah — and California and Michigan imposed some of the strictest quarantine measures in the country. Nine of the group's dealerships are in California, one of the first states to issue shelter-in-place orders.
But more than half of Ken Garff's dealerships are in Utah, which deployed a less-strict "Stay Safe, Stay Home" directive. Dealerships there were designated essential for sales and service for the duration of the pandemic, though the Utah Auto Dealers Association told Automotive News that sales and service traffic levels have slowed considerably at dealerships since the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Ken Garff ranked No. 10 on Automotive News' list of the nation's top 150 dealership groups, selling 59,305 vehicles in 2019.