The harrowing and still developing events involving coronavirus have taken its toll in the automotive industry. Different car companies have taken measures in order to ensure the safety of their workers. FCA closes nearly all European plants, while the VW Group suspends vehicle production for the next two weeks. Ford also announced the closure of its Valencia plant with three workers diagnosed with COVID-19. UAW recently pushes for a two-week shutdown of U.S. plants, appealing to Detroit automakers.
Since mobility is limited and supply chain is hampered, U.S. car dealers face a challenge, just like any other retail business during these tough times.
Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. recognizes that issue and addressed the concern through an email to its U.S. dealers, obtained by Automotive News. CEO Nicholas Speeks even quoted Winston Churchill in the said email.
"Winston Churchill once said, 'If you are going through hell ……. KEEP GOING!'," Speeks wrote to U.S. dealers. "The challenge we have is not of the dimension he was forced to confront but that is exactly what we, all of us, are going to do: Keep going."
Apart from the words of encouragement, Speeks also laid down plans for the U.S. dealers to soldier on amid the situation, according to Automotive News' report.
First, Mercedes U.S.A. still guarantees margin and performance bonuses for the first half of the year despite the projected failure to hit requirements like CSI surveys and employee training. Dealers will also be given a base payout per vehicle sold in March, even without hitting the sales quota.
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) will consider postponement of principal payments related to real estate and capital loans for up to 90 days, while customer payments may be deferred for up to 90 days on a case-to-case basis.