Windsor car dealerships experience decreased sales but increased crimes during pandemic
WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Windsor Police Property Crime Unit has seen a recent increase in commercial break and enters at car dealerships.
Sgt. Steve Betteridge says over the last month there have been approximately five to 10 break-ins at local car shops.
The police want to remind all businesses to take extra caution and vigilance during the coronavirus era.
“Don’t leave valuables inside that business,” says Betteridge. “Don’t leave something enticing that a would be thief might peer in the window and say oh there’s something worth trying to take.
Rose City Ford dealership in Windsor has not experienced any break and enters, but has ramped up their security camera system just in case.
“The property is well secured more so than normal just because we know the risks of that type of activity are greater right now,” says general manager Scott Ohler.
It’s one of the many changes the dealership made to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic. In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, showrooms are closed, in-person sales and test drives are halted.
Over the last month, sales at Rose City Ford have decreased by 50 to 60 per cent. This resulted in them having to lay off 40 per cent of their staff.
Despite the lower sales, Ohler says transportation is of upmost importance during the pandemic.
“Transportation is in many cases right now more important than ever,” he says. “People need to get out and attend to family members that can’t leave the house and front line workers employees need to get to work.”
Now the dealership’s focus is to find creative ways to sell cars completely virtually.
“We’re sending videos of vehicles to people so they can see are car without actually having to come in and have contact with us,” Ohler says.
Rose City Ford is also accommodating costumers that can no longer take a test drive before purchasing by offering a five-day hassle-free return policy.
“Once they take delivery of the vehicle, at that point they have the opportunity to drive the car.”
Ohler says this method has been working well so far as no costumers have chosen to return a vehicle.
The dealership’s parts and service department is still open and has implemented a free pick-up and drop-off delivery service for its customers.
“We disinfect the vehicle thoroughly when we pick it up at your home and we disinfect it again when we return it,” he adds.