Auto trade groups ask Trump for clearer guidance on ‘essential services’

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A coalition of trade groups representing the nation’s automobile dealers has asked President Donald Trump to clarify that certain sales and leasing activities at franchised dealerships are considered essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter sent to the White House on Monday, the group — consisting of the National Automobile Dealers Association, American International Automobile Dealers, National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers and American Truck Dealers — expressed its appreciation for federal guidance on March 19 that listed vehicle manufacturing, supply manufacturing, maintenance and repair facilities as essential services.

However, “The Guidance made no reference to vehicle sales and lease operations that are typically conducted by franchised new-car and -truck dealers in conjunction with their service and maintenance operations,” the letter said. “As a result, some states and other jurisdictions have prohibited vehicle sales by dealerships.”

This report will be updated.

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