PHOENIX - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, people may expect car dealerships to be experiencing a really rough ride, but that isn’t the case for at least some Valley car dealers.
As expected, car sales have fallen off a cliff at the start of the pandemic in the Phoenix area, but what's surprising is that in a short amount of time, they have rebounded.
"In April, it was a tough month," said Scott Gruwell, owner of Courtesy Auto Group. "Tough month for new, used, and service as well."
Gruwell says this month at the Camelback dealership, one of three Courtesy dealerships his family owns, they are on track to sell 280 used vehicles and 180 new ones.
"In fact, our used car business is on par with May of last year. Our new car is down a little, but I think that has to do with inventory struggle manufacturers are dealing with during the shutdown," said Gruwell.
Despite bad economic news and record unemployment, some are still buying a vehicle, like Craig Anthony, who was eyeing a truck on Wednesday.
"I'm still working. There hasn't been a slowdown for me. You might call me an essential worker cause I'm an over the road truck driver," said Anthony.
Another factor is that manufacturers have put a lot of bait in the water to lure buyers, with 0% interest, 84-month loans, and rebates, to name a few.
"Chevrolet, at least on this truck I'm looking at, is $6,000 rebate, so that brings the price down quite a bit, and they seem to be discounting the price too here at the dealership and making it somewhat affordable," said Anthony.
The pandemic initially hurt business, but Gruwell says people are buying again, sometimes driven by the new world we now live in.
"A lot of people aren’t doing the rideshares quite like they used to or mass transit, so the next financial and economic step is going into a less expensive, used vehicle," said Gruwell.
Gruwell says despite all the CDC recommended changes at dealerships, many people are buying from start to finish online.