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CitNOW, CDK, GardX and RAPID RTC offer help as IMF forecasts 3% GDP drop

Carol Fairchild CitNOW

As Coronavirus is expected to cause an economic downturn of up to 3% per month, more automotive retail suppliers continue to take action to help their dealer customers.

The IMF’s director for Europe, Paul Thomsen, warned yesterday the pandemic will cause a recession, but the IMF has confidence that Europe’s leaders are doing enough to counter the economic effects, expected to be a 3% drop in GDP each month.

As UK dealers look to manage their cost base, there have been announcements by more of their suppliers of actions to help.

CitNOW has suspended all charges for its UK customer base of 4,000 motor retailers from tomorrow (April 1) to support them while the country continues to be in lockdown, until the Government allows dealerships to reopen.

Dealerships will continue to have access to its subscription products and support services, however, enabling those still taking car orders online or maintaining key workers’ vehicles to continue to operate.

CitNOW’s chief customer officer Carol Fairchild (pictured) said the priority is to keep dealers’ systems fit and ready for when their doors reopen.

“Our wider team is continuing to provide support to our customers over the coming months as we all work on developing a more contactless digital strategy in line with customers’ changing needs,” she added.

DMS provider CDK Global will discount its periodic subscription fees by 25% in April, and will offer customers some VPN capability at no cost.

It will also defer charges for remote access to some telephony products, which will aid dealers’ cashflow, and is hosting a free webinar to support customers on April 1.

CDK Global’s UK & Ireland managing director Stuart Miles, said: “We want to assure our customers and partners that we are all in this together. It is important to us that all our businesses maintain momentum and are secure for the future as we manage through today’s uncertainty - which is why we are focusing on the sustained health and success of our automotive network.

“Through this crisis we are learning to think differently about how we support one another, our businesses, and our local communities.

“I wanted to express my commitment to our customers and their employees, and just as importantly, to all CDK employees and stakeholders.  We have created this package of solutions and services to help us all get through the COVID-19 crisis together.”

RAPID RTC is also cutting dealers’ monthly payments for its digital product suite, Lead Manager, Facebook, Chat and Text, by 25% from April 1 through to June 30.

It has also increased the staff and service levels in its Chat eConcierge team to give customers live online cover while social distancing is in place.

President and chief executive Glen Demetrioff said: “I have our best minds working together to ensure you will be able to continue to communicate, albeit in a different way, to your patrons and your customers. And while business will likely look different on the other side, we will be there to support you.”

GardX is offering its B2See Digital Video Solution and Feature Tour products free of charge to help dealers communicate with customers and maintain relationships during the showroom closures.

“We recognise the challenge that the auto sector is facing and being able to support dealers to engage with consumers remotely is fundamental in keeping some activity alive” said Billy Coutin, GardX AD-Vantage director.

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