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Analysis: Could COVID-19 Forever Alter Dealers' Approach?

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April 13, 2020—The new approach in light of the coronavirus has car sales increasingly shifting online, according to a report by USA Today.

The CEO of Ricart Automotive Group in Columbus, Ohio, told USA Today that, by the end of the year, between 80 and 90 percent of U.S. new car dealers are going to have full e-commerce capability in their shops. This full e-commerce capability would handle everything online except for maybe the test drive and the final signature.

Going totally online and paper-free will require changes to laws that require physical signatures.

According to the report, customers can reserve a specific vehicle from inventory to buy or for a test drive, said Ryan LaFontaine, chief operating officer of LaFontaine Automotive Group, which handles 18 brands in southeast and mid-Michigan. LaFontaine has staff manning its websites and phone lines during the current near shutdown, which has limited Michigan dealerships to service, repairs and sales to first responders who need a new vehicle immediately.

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