(WKBN) – Buying a car during the COVID-19 outbreak is harder than you think.
Both Ohio and Pennsylvania are under stay-at-home orders, but the states differ on how important having a car really is.
Ohio allows car sales online or by appointment. Across the state line, car sales come to a screeching halt.
“Pennsylvania right now will not let you sell vehicles, either new or pre-owned,” said car dealer Matt Wickwire.
That leaves few options for Pennsylvanians who need a car.
Dave Sess: “If I total my car over there, what am I supposed to do?”
Wickwire: “Go out of state. You’re going to have to go out of state.”
Wickwire runs Grove City Ford and Boardman Nissan. He’s encouraged people to cross the state line, where they can still get a car if necessary.
Taylor Kia of Boardman is also getting Pennsylvania customers who can’t get a car at their locations in Hermitage.
“It’s 60% or 70% of our revenue in those stores in Hermitage. It’s totally shut off,” said car dealer Matt Taylor.
One hurdle was the notarization of a title application. Pennsylvania allows an e-notary, so it can be done electronically, which would help online sales.
“There is a need for remote sales at the very least and they will not allow that either,” Taylor said.
Both dealerships are running a fraction of their normal business, getting by right now on auto repairs or selling parts in Pennsylvania.
“We’re looking at four to six months that we can weather the storm. The SBA loan would allow us to extend further,” Wickwire said.
While showrooms and sales are closed in Pennsylvania, service is open. That’s the one bright spot until all of the restrictions are lifted.
“I look forward to seeing business come back with a roar when this is over,” Wickwire said.
Both dealerships believe their Pennsylvania showrooms are big enough that they can practice social distancing and keep everyone safe while still selling cars. They just want the governor to allow it.