The news has been hard lately.
Sales have fallen off. Finances are under stress. Jobs have been cut, and some aren't coming back. The auto industry has lost people to the virus.
But more than a month into the crisis, bright spots are emerging out of what has been a bleak start to spring. Dealerships are donating needed supplies. Online shopping traffic is showing signs of optimism that pent-up demand may jump-start sales once the COVID-19 outbreak has passed.
And dealers are embracing selling cars outside of the traditional showroom.
"This is one of the true silver linings of this crisis," Dale Pollak, executive vice president of Cox Automotive and vAuto founder, told Automotive News Publisher Jason Stein on the "Daily Drive" podcast last week.
"Dealers have been moving for many years now towards digital competency," Pollak said, "and in the last three weeks I think most every dealer has been accelerated firmly into the digital realm."
That acceleration was prompted by the fact that in some states, the only way dealerships can sell vehicles right now is virtually. It has helped them move some metal when sales otherwise would be on hold.
On the other side of this, however, many expect digital sales and remote deliveries to stick around — and catch on beyond the early adopters, who talk about reshaping the car-buying customer experience to resemble e-commerce giant Amazon.
I want to hear how digital sales have been going. Some dealers have been selling virtually for at least a month now. How have customers responded? Have a digital retailing story to share? Send it my way: [email protected].
I hope you're all staying healthy and safe.