After nearly eight weeks of auto dealership showrooms forced to close due to restrictive state and local orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, dealerships in the Valencia Auto Center reopened their doors on Friday, May 8. Weekend sales numbers communicated to the Santa Clarita Auto Dealers Association reported 245 units sold over the weekend, a difference of only one unit from the same weekend in 2019.
“I’ve been in the car business almost all my life. I never could have imagined dealership showrooms being ordered to close,” said Don Fleming, president of the Association regarding the stay-at-home orders implemented statewide in March. “Navigating the constantly changing business landscape of the past two months has been challenging. Car dealers had to change their business practices overnight creating hardships due to the unclear rules and uncertainty.”
On March 19, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay at home order to protect the health and well-being of Californians and to establish consistency across the state in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. With that order, auto dealership parts and service departments were classified as essential services and could remain open, but sales departments were not. Stage 2 of the governor’s reopening phase allowed auto dealerships to resume sales operations starting last Friday, with the implementation of additional safety and hygiene protocols.
“When the showrooms closed, most sales staff were laid off. With the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) availability and dealership doors open again, sales teams have now been able to come back to work,” Fleming commented. “The number of cars sold this past weekend was the closest thing to normal we’ve experienced so far.”
“This is a great piece of positive news that provides encouragement we may be entering our new normal,” said Holly Schroeder, president and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation. “With the auto center as a major generator of sales tax revenue for the City of Santa Clarita, the dealers strong reopening weekend is an economic indicator that demand is there, and residents understand the importance of supporting local businesses.”
Auto sales and leases for the Valencia Auto Center totaled $7,036,337 in sales tax in 2018 representing 21.7% of the City’s sales tax revenue. Over the past 12 years (2007-2018), vehicle sales in the association have generated over $69 million in tax dollars. Those dollars help fund parks, trails, open space, community entertainment, new roads, and additional sheriff patrols.
Across the nation, Memorial Day, which this year falls on Monday, May 25, historically has the highest weekend auto sales volume of the year. “We look forward to helping buyers relieve much of the pent-up demand for autos in the weeks and months ahead,” Fleming stated.
About Santa Clarita Automobile Association
Formed in 1998, the Santa Clarita Auto Dealers Association is a 501(c)4 organization that promotes the dealerships within the Valencia Auto Center, encourages Santa Clarita residents to keep tax dollars local, and supports local nonprofit organizations. The Association is comprised of 13 dealerships within the Valencia Auto Center with a total of 24 brands making it one of the largest auto centers in Southern California.
About Valencia Auto Center
The Valencia Auto Center is one of the largest auto centers in Southern California representing 24-brands and located in one magic mile — Creekside Road, Magic Mountain Blvd., and Valencia Blvd. – in the city of Santa Clarita. For more information, visit www.ValenciaAutoCenter.com.
Participating Dealers in the Santa Clarita Auto Dealers Association:
AutoNation Chevrolet Valencia
AutoNation Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Valencia
AutoNation Ford Valencia
AutoNation Honda Valencia
Hello Nissan of Valencia
Infiniti of Valencia
Kia of Valencia
Mercedes-Benz of Valencia
Parkway Cadillac, Buick, GMC