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Stronger Together: Auto Industry Unites to Get Through COVID-19

Published March 31, 2020

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The entire auto industry—including auto manufacturers, auto dealers, lending institutions and allied industry vendors—is pulling together to weather the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States and alleviate its long-term impact on auto retail sales. Even as auto manufacturers temporarily shut down plants or switch to making medical equipment in response to the pandemic, manufacturers and their financing arms, as well as dealer third-party vendors, are offering ways to assist their dealer networks, including easing dealer loan terms, offering cash incentives, reducing monthly sales targets or waiving their fees.

Here are some measures automakers and vendors are putting in place to help auto dealers (*this page will be updated periodically as new information becomes available):

Cars.com – The digital marketplace and solutions provider is offering dealers half off their April Cars.com and DealerRater bills and 30% off of their May and June bills. The company has also launched a collection of no-cost virtual merchandising and digital retail solutions including Home Delivery and Virtual Appointment badging.

CARFAX – The vehicle history information provider is completely waiving the April and May monthly fee for existing customers of their CARFAX for Life product. Additionally, the company is offering CARFAX Advantage services and CARFAX Used Car Listings services at half price for April.

CDK Global Inc. – The dealership and customer management system company will temporarily waive all subscription fees for layered applications, including Elead CRM and service products. The company also announced they will cut fees for DMS and related products, like their document management and digital contracting, by 25%.

Cox Automotive – For the months of April and May, Cox is cutting subscription fees for its retail solutions, DealerTrack products, HomeNEt Automotive, Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer, vAuto, VinSolutions and Xtime, by half. The company will also waive simulcast success fees for buyers and sellers at its Manheim auction business unit.

General Motors – In addition to a number of incentives aimed at getting customers into dealership showrooms, GM Financial is guaranteeing dealerships’ dealer dividend payments, to be equal to and consistent with the previous month’s payouts. GM Financial is also temporarily waiving curtailment payments on aging inventory (including demonstration cars and service loaners) for up to 90 days. GM has also notified its dealerships that they will not be considered in breach of their Dealer Sales and Service Agreements if they are forced to close or reduce services due to a state, local or federal shutdown order, as long as they notify their zone manager of their compliance.

Hyundai Motor America – Hyundai and Hyundai Motor Finance is providing its more than 800 U.S. dealerships with a variety of financial relief during the coronavirus crisis, including deferred floorplan interest and increased incentives, such as adjusting dealer performance goals for March and paying out bonuses of $400 per wholesale until further notice.

Nissan North America– For the month of March, Nissan North America will pay dealers a guaranteed $375 bonus per vehicle sold, regardless of the dealer’s sales goal. In addition, the finance arm, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp., is suspending inventory curtailment payments and lowering dealer floorplan rates. Eligible dealers can also apply for the cash-flow assistance program for six months of interest-only payments on mortgage and capital loans.

Porsche North America – On March 25, Porsche North America announced that all of its 192 U.S. dealerships will receive guaranteed payouts for their marketing and customer experience bonuses for Q1 and Q2, regardless of whether the dealer met their performance objectives. Porsche will also provide dealerships with a flat fee for home delivery of any new vehicles through April 30. To help offset the costs of store inventory, Porsche North America has created a Floorplan Assistance Program, which will cover a large portion of vehicle inventory costs for 60 days for new vehicles, certified pre-owned vehicles, demonstration cars, as well as service loaners. Porsche will also allow dealerships to return previously leased vehicles instead of requiring them to be sold through the certified pre-owned program.

RouteOne – Through May 21 auto finance, electronic contract and digital retail software provider will lower digital retail products subscription fees by 50%. Some of the company’s select product fees will be completed waived.