Digital automotive platforms, retail and wholesale, are making adjustments for COVID-19, just as many brick-and-mortar operations are, as well.
In an example, one of those is a new No-Touch Test Drive system from Shift, a retail online used-car marketplace.
For No-Touch Test Drive, a Shift concierge will deliver a car to a customer’s home, wipe it down with disinfectant and hand it over to the customer to test drive on his or her own.
And at BacklotCars, an online wholesale marketplace, all dealers can now sell for free.
“Historically we have focused on and specialized in new-car trades from franchise dealers,” BacklotCars founder and chief executive officer Justin Davis wrote in a letter to the company’s dealer partners.
The letter continued, “In these times, we feel it is important to help our independent dealer partners keep their inventory moving, so we are opening the BacklotCars platform for them to sell through as well.”
At Shift, the company is temporarily suspending customer visits to its physical facilities. But customers can schedule test drives and buy cars directly online at Shift.com and receive home delivery of the vehicle and can also and sell their car to Shift through an at-home evaluation.
During the current crisis, Shift will waive delivery fees for all online vehicle purchases.
Shift said in a news release that the company was temporarily suspending physical facility customer visits “in light of the state and county Shelter-in-Place order and to follow public health guidance regarding social distancing.”
Shift has implemented at work-from-home policy for employees whose jobs allow it. But employees in the field will continue to follow all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for reducing the spread of germs.
Those recommendations include frequent handwashing, maintaining social distance, use of hand sanitizer and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
“It is with a deep sense of responsibility to our community and team that we are providing these solutions to help keep everyone safe,” said Shift chief operating officer Sean Foy.
Foy continued, “We remain committed to serving our customers while keeping health and safety front and center. As always, we have and will continue to enable customers to transact from the comfort and safety of their homes.”
The Shift news release reported that the company is actively following COVID-19 updates such as guidance from the CDC and local health officials. The company will continue working to protect staff, customers and the community.
At BacklotCars, the company will implement no buy fees for sealed bid sales. To support its dealers who run their own sealed bid sales, the company is waiving all buy fees for dealers’ legacy buyers, “so they can buy your cars online.”
BacklotCars is also implementing more mobile application improvements.
“BlackBook valuations are now available to help you quickly understand vehicle market value,” Davis said.
He said, “These values are adjusted based on the vehicle’s AutoCheck, which is also provided.”
Float duration flexibility is another initiative from BacklotCars. For qualifying dealers using BacklotCars’ Float financing product, BacklotCars is offering an additional 15 days “on your Float” at no additional cost.
Transport to your customers is another BackLotCars initiative.
“Our Transport team is now yours,” Davis said. “If you have a customer that wants to purchase a vehicle but doesn’t want to come in person, we will deliver the vehicle to them at “competitive and market-driven rates.
“I feel now is the time to do more to leverage our technology to help dealers stay safe buying and selling wholesale vehicles 100% online,” Davis said.