YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Auto dealers around Youngstown are limiting their sales and service operations to conform with Governor Mike DeWine’s orders that non-essential businesses shut down.
Some dealers are providing ways for people to buy vehicles if absolutely necessary and are keeping their service departments open for necessary repairs.
“If people need a car, dealers will do it within the scope of the governor’s orders,” said Lou Vitantonio, president of the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association, which represents 280 dealers in 23 counties. “We’re working in the spirit of what the governor is asking us to do.”
Greg Greenwood, owner of Greenwood Chevrolet, says he’s working “with a skeleton sales staff” and that the service department is open for necessary repairs.
When asked if a nurse or doctor whose vehicle broke down could get a new one, Greenwood responded, “Absolutely. But if they need an oil change, they’ll have to wait until at least April 6,” which is when the governor’s stay-at-home order is set to expire.
“We’re doing our best to protect our employees,” Greenwood said.
Alexa Sweeney, vice president of Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC in Boardman, released a statement saying that they have closed “the bulk of our dealership operations.”
“As a community service for health care workers on the front lines needing to get to and from work, and for individuals needing reliable transportation to provide for their families, we will maintain a small crew for urgent or emergency service or sales work in full compliance with the governor’s order as an essential business,” Sweeney said.
The Jim Shorkey Auto Group, which operates a Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership in Austintown, announced that all “in-store sales will be closed until further notice” but provisions are in place to purchase vehicles by phone or the internet.
Shorkey, however, will keep its service department open with a limited workforce.
“We will not allow broken-down vehicles to go unrepaired,” Shorkey said in a statement.
Meanwhile, John Kufleitner has decided that “all facets of the Kufleitner Automotive Group have been suspended,” which includes sales, service, parts and body shop.
“Full- and part-time employees will receive their entire pay, without government support, during the shutdown until we return to full schedule,” Kufleitner said.