The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating the shift to online vehicle sales as people stuck at home change the way they purchase cars, said Mike Jackson, chief executive of AutoNation, Inc., in an interview Monday.
Customers are becoming accustomed to conducting more of the transaction online as a way to adhere to stay-at-home orders, he said.
“There’s no turning back,” said Mr. Jackson, who leads the nation’s largest car dealership chain. “You as a company either have world-class digital capabilities, or you are falling behind.”
AutoNation reported a net loss of $232.2 million in the first quarter of 2020 as demand for new and used vehicles plummeted. The auto-retailing giant saw some recovery at the end of April with vehicle sales down only 20% in the last 10 days of the month, compared to falling 52% in the first 10 days.