Car sales on the rise despite continued virus threat

Published: Jun. 12, 2020 at 7:08 PM CDT
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The COVID-19 outbreak has changed so much the ways we buy things, from toilet paper to macaroni and cheese. Now, you may want to add cars, trucks and SUV's to that list.

According to dealerships, the demand for new and used cars is on the rise. At Chilson Subaru, prices cut and deals are driving up the demand. However, Chilson's and Prestige Kia dealerships are trying to play catch-up after a late start to their buying season. s.

“May was a pretty decent month where we saw people, kind of itching to get out of their houses and stuff and come back and see us again,” says Prestige Kia sales Manager Josh Poulter. “For June it's been go, go, go. We've been busier than we've ever been.

“The new Subaru sales are strong, the used car sales have been exceptionally strong,” says Chilson Subaru co-owner Steve Chilson.

That's a little off from the norm, where demand usually hits in March and April. While high demand now is good, they say it doesn't make up for a sluggish spring.

“We missed a significant amount of time," Chilson says. "Probably the last two weeks of March and in the car business, that is probably one of the busiest months in the auto industry and pretty much all of April.”

Chilson and Poulter both say their inventory is good at the moment, but they are looking out for a new car shortage later this summer.

“We noticed in what we received back from Subaru, it was just a fraction of what we sold because of them having the plant closed due to COVID,” Chilson says.

“Factories were shut down for a couple of months there, so we haven't been able to get our full stock of new cars incoming and so what's ended up happening is used car prices are starting climb up,” Poulter says.

For now, both dealerships say they are taking steps to make sure customers are able to get the best deal in the safest way possible.

“We will glove up, we will put a mask on if they prefer we do, a lot of it is based on what the customer wants,” Chilson says.

“A lot of this is bigger than just selling a car,” Poulter says. “It's kind of helping people even if they don't know their being helped.”

As to the COVID-19 virus itself, Chilson Subaru and Prestige Kia say they have safety procedures in place to help customers feel safe while shopping, including installing plexiglas barriers, sales staff wearing masks and allowing customer's to go on test-drives by themselves if they chose. Poulter says that although customers are looking at a variety of different body styles, SUV's have been the top seller over the last few months.