Car dealers coping with coronavirus pandemic

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Car dealers are working with customers who might be finding themselves out of work or light on money because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Car dealers are working with customers who might be finding themselves out of work or light on money because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dealerships like Don Hall Supercenter in Ashland have closed their showrooms and stopped face-to-face sales, but their body shop is still open, and customers can shop online and find deals designed to help those struggling financially.

"General Motors has put out some tremendous deals right now that help customers throughout the whole pandemic," Jill Hall, who owns Don Hall Supercenter, said. "One of the things they've done is 0 percent financing for 84 months and no payments for 120 days, so that's big."

"Try telling somebody who's sick they can't get their car serviced before they go to the hospital," Chris Miller, owner of Dutch Miller, said. "That's one of the primary reasons why we're still open."

Miller says they're staying open with a focus on making sure customers and employees have less contact.

"We're doing demos on vehicles with phones as we walk around them to show to people," he said.

Mark Porter owns four dealerships in southeastern Ohio.

The state has not instructed dealerships to close, but Porter is making the call to temporarily shut down his businesses. They closed Tuesday evening and are not expected to reopen for at least a couple weeks.

Porter says he chose to close because he's not comfortable with the risk factor.

"I may not have made the best business decision," Porter said, "but I'll sleep better tonight for the decision to know at least I'll never have to worry about an employee calling telling me their kid died or they took a virus home."

One hundred fifty of Porter's employees were laid off Tuesday. He says he hopes he'll be able to hire most of them back.

"Hopefully by April 6 when we open back up, this virus has calmed down," he said.

Porter says if anyone has an emergency and needs their car fixed, they can call a number on their website and make arrangements to get repairs.