PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New Jersey reopened auto dealerships for in-person sales on Wednesday, but that is not the case in Pennsylvania. Auto dealers here can still only sell cars online and other strict rules set by the governor are hurting dealerships’ bottom lines.
“Buying a car used to be a very personal decision,” Paul Muller, president of Team Toyota in Langhorne, said.
Muller is patiently waiting for the day he can reopen his showroom. Right now, he can sell cars but only online and customers can only test drive after they buy.
“There was an emotional side. People want red instead of gray,” Muller said. “They want a cool car instead of a not so cool car. And this has sort of taken the emotional part out of it.”
Over in New Jersey, where on Wednesday, dealers were again allowed to sell vehicles, some were caught off guard.
“I really thought we were going to get more notice than one day or less than a day,” Ziad Nashed, with Subaru of Cherry Hill, said.
In Jersey, auto dealer employees must wear face masks and gloves and customers need to wear face masks too. But with little foot traffic on day one, dealers hope business picks up.
Meanwhile, there’s been a lot of hustle and bustle over at the headquarters of Gettacar in Northeast Philadelphia.
“You should buy a car online, it’s easier,” Yossi Levi said.
It’s a 2-year-old car dealership that’s online-only. Here, vehicles are sanitized, interiors are wrapped in plastic and buyers can choose to have contactless delivery right to their home.
If you ask why you should buy online from them as opposed to your local dealer, they’ll tell you this.
“Would you order Chinese food from an Italian restaurant? No,” Levi said. “So you should buy a car online from the experts.”
While typical auto dealerships have seen a huge slump in sales, Gettacar’s sales have increased over the last several weeks. They say more are buying cars to avoid public transportation and Gettacar expects that trend to continue.