NADA – As state and local guidance across the country are allowing non-essential businesses to open, dealerships have been up and running—allowing them the opportunity to further enhance safety measures for their employees and customers.

I think it was a great moment for every dealership in America that proved to be a pillar of their communities.

Safe operating procedures was just one of the items AutoNation chairman and CEO Mike Jackson discussed during his appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Sunday, May 9.

“We have a drumbeat around safety. I think the challenge for every business in America is how you’re going to figure out a safe environment for your customers. That’s now the entry back into the game,” said Jackson in his segment. “It’s around safety and you have to figure it out for your business. We have done it for ours and we do have this drumbeat around safety and personal space and personal transportation. The recovery is clearly underway.”

Jackson’s optimistic perspective also highlighted the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the auto retail industry after an exceptional sales period in January and February.

“Shelter in place was not in any of our business plans. I have a hard time imagining it for America. I don’t think it has ever happened in the history of the country, but by the beginning of April, 95% of our markets were shelter in place,” Jackson shared. “We had the most rapid decline in business, far exceeding the great recession or anything else where the business collapsed in a matter of days.”

“We had to take action to protect the company, to ensure that we would be on the other side of the crisis come what may and we took steps to reduce the size of the company,” Jackson added.

While Jackson shared his insights into the action AutoNation has taken to ensure the strength of their business, he also saluted dealers across the country for their ongoing commitment to philanthropy during this uncertain time—ranging from medical supply donations to monetary giving.

“I think it was a great moment for every dealership in America that proved to be a pillar of their communities.”

Click here to watch the full segment with Mike Jackson.

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