Coronavirus (COVID-19) has left AutoMall with one of its largest inventory of vehicles ever, with a downside outlook of 12 to 18 months before business returns to normal, the company’s Manager L.J. Albury told Guardian Business yesterday.
Albury said as COVID-19 began to cause lockdowns across the world and shut down economies, AutoMall already had new cars on order and on the way.
“The difficult part for us, unlike a lot of businesses with COVID, we order a lot of our vehicles six and seven months in advance. It’s like trying to slam brakes on a freight train,” said Albury.
“We had so many cars coming in. I still have another 50 cars on the dock and I don’t see sales picking up. I don’t know much about the future of COVID-19 and the second wave people are talking about, but I think it will be another 12 to 18 months before things start to bounce back for us. We just got a ton of inventory and we have pretty much stopped ordering,” noted Albury.
“During quarantine we couldn’t sell cars, but we continuously had cars coming in. So my inventory level is the highest it’s been in years.”
Albury said during times like these the company leans on selling parts and servicing vehicles. He added that pre-COVID-19 orders are still being fulfilled.
“In an economy like this, people, instead of buying a new car, will hold on to their car a bit longer, so it requires more maintenance,” he said.
Despite the downturn in business and millions shelled out for new inventory during the closure, Albury said AutoMall has not had to make any staff redundant.
He said the entire staff is now back to work, taking on different roles as parts of the business, such as the sales floor, slows.