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Pandemic impacts car dealerships in more ways than one

Pandemic impacts car dealerships in more ways than one

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Car sales in Idaho may be accelerating after being idled by the pandemic. New car sales were down in April prompting many dealerships to cut corners. But keeping up with customer demands may soon be a bigger challenge.

"It was pretty tough especially getting through March and April. It was not easy," general manager for Phil Meador, Jason Meador said

Dealerships across the country are struggling to bounce back after being shut down for nearly two months.

"We didn't really have to lay anybody off, we tried to keep most of our employees here but it definitely affected business," Meador said.

Meador's story is shared by hundreds of dealerships statewide. New car sales were down more than 50% in April prompting many dealerships to cut staff to stay afloat. However, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

A recent AAA survey says one in ten consumers are more likely to purchase a new or used vehicle in the next 6 months. That's mainly due to low interest rates along with dealer incentives; a trend that likely to last for the foreseeable future.

Meador says “the only bad part, is we have great specials on the lot. We just wish we had more cars right now.”

The Phil Meador dealership typically has 120 new cars on the lot. Today, there are about 50. So, as more people begin to hit the lots, it's up to manufacturers to play catch up.

"They shutdown those plants for a month or two which basically halted production. So now that everything is up back and running, there's just not as much inventory no matter what business you're in," Meador said.

In the meantime, staff will wear face coverings, sanitize each vehicle after use, as well as plexi-glass windows to decrease physical contact. As things begin to return to normal, Meador cautiously hopeful for the future.

"We have stuff coming in every day because they started producing cars again which is good."

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