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The Effect of COVID-19 on Auto Retailing: The TrueSpot Advantage

June 3, 2020

COVID-19 hit the auto retailing industry (and the nation) like a ton of bricks and made phrases like “social distancing” and “shelter-in-place” part of the daily lexicon. In response, many dealers scaled back or shut down operations altogether. Others moved to online-only sales, with pickup at a distance.

At least one TrueSpot Real-Time Location Services dealer customer bucked this trend and never actually closed operations. Guess what? They had their best April EVER.

Vanguard Kia in Arlington, Texas, never closed their physical retail location and posted a record. This April, Vanguard realized a 20% increase in April sales year-over-year. Interestingly, several other TrueSpot customers have recently reported similar results…

How did they do it?

In each case, these dealers moved quickly to increase their marketing to comfort customers with compliance with CDC guidelines and let them know they were open for business. Where other dealers when on the defensive, these dealers went on the offensive.

Specifically, Vanguard used the knowledge they acquired during the downturn in 2008. “We took advantage of the rapid decrease in used car prices and used those opportunities to offset the losses on our aged inventory,” Jeremy Wiggins, General Manager, Vanguard Auto Group said. “We also took advantage of the discounts offered by radio, TV and digital platforms to increase the frequency of our message and get our ads in front of more consumers who were home searching the internet and watching TV.”

So, Vanguard Kia zigged when others zagged, seizing the opportunity to capture demand sent skyrocketing while other dealers closed their doors. #winning!

The key takeaway is this, despite the disruption, the fear, and doubt that is dominating our industry (and our nation at this pivotal moment), it does not define us. The demand for cars purchased from a real-life retail setting is still strong. Attentive customer service still translates to community impact and drives sales. Even now as things begin to open back up, the dealers that win will likely be the ones who act proactively and openly embrace new ways of working to meet the growing needs of today’s shoppers.


TrueSpot is the industry’s first Real-Time Locations Services platform purpose-built for auto dealers to remove costs from lost keys, reduce lost time spent searching for cars, and streamline recon operations to speed time-to-sold. For more information, contact TrueSpot for a free, no-hassle online demonstration

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