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COVID has affected car dealerships in the U.P.

Toilet paper, bleach, hand sanitizer, and soap. Manufactures have struggled to keep up with the demand of these products. And much like these products, some car dealerships have hit similar road bumps.
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 7:30 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Toilet paper, bleach, hand sanitizer, and soap. Manufactures have struggled to keep up with the demand of these products. And much like these products, some car dealerships have hit similar road bumps.

Brandon Schlief, general manager of Keweenaw Chevrolet in Houghton, said they were very short on vehicles. “At one point we had 6 new trucks on the ground.”

But unlike Keweenaw Chevrolet in Houghton, Marthaler of Marquette’s general manager, Nicholle Remilong, said they’ve been lucky to have enough inventory to serve customer’s needs.

“Over 100 used vehicles in stock and we have quite a few new in our parking lot and lots on the way. So, every day we’ve been getting some transports in and dropping off new vehicles for us,” Remilong said.

However, COVID is not to completely blame.

“Back when GM was on a strike for a period of time last year, we got short then and then they got fired back up and building units again and then the COVID hit,” Schlief said. And much like businesses all over, Remilong said car shopping has changed.

“A lot of people like to shop online. So, they can submit an application online. We have actually brought vehicles to people’s homes to test drive,” she said.

And while vehicle manufacturing has been impacted by COVID, Schlief said consumers looking to sell their vehicles are getting more than they would have before COVID.

“The used car values are really high right now which is good for the consumers. So, our used cars are down because basically we are not buying any at the auction right now for what they’re bringing at the sales so a lot of ours are trade ins and things like that.”

And for those who are worried about purchasing a new vehicle during this time, Schlief said it’s a great time to buy.

“Now is a good time to buy, especially with the incentives they have. The manufactures want to keep the ball rolling and now they’re ready to start pushing units out before the end of the year for a big close.”

For those who don’t feel comfortable leaving their homes just yet, Remilong says Marthaler has been offering pickup and delivery services for all things from car detailing to estimates.

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