Gus Machado Ford shifts service into 4th gear

Business By Megan Jacobo, Reporter Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Gus Machado Ford shifts service into 4th gear
Car dealers are considered an essential business and have not shut down during the three months of the coronavirus outbreak.
But to remain viable while restricted by social distancing and other safety guidelines, they’ve had to change how they sell autos as well as how they take care of customers and their cars.
Count Gus Machado Ford in Hialeah among those that have shifted gears during the pandemic.
“We’ve had to reinvent ourselves,” said Victor Benitez, general manager of the dealership.
If customers sequestered from the virus didn’t come to the car lot to shop, the dealership went to them.
Gus Machado Ford’s house calls also include a visit from a mobile maintenance van.
A technician will change oil and rotates tire on a vehicle at a customer’s home.
Benitez says it has been a popular service since most people don’t want to leave their house.
And if a car requires more extensive service, it is picked up to be worked on back at the shop and then returned to the residence.
“We are catering to customers to make it easier for them,” Benitez said.
The business sprays an anti-microbial product on all autos for sale and in the showroom, and performs the service for free on anyone’s car, whether the owner is a customer or not.
“We decided to offer this to help the community,” Benitez said.
The City of Hialeah has the most cases of COVID-19 (2,366 on May 30) in Miami-Dade County, after the City of Miami (10,812).
Benitez said like many companies, his business was bruised by the outbreak.
“Beginning March 16, our sales fell 80 % and service was down 50%,” Benitez said. “But that only lasted until April 15. May 2020 will be better than May 2019.”
The 108 employees at the dealership, at 1200 W 49th St., have continued to work, but operating hours were reduced, Benitez said.
Ford is offering 0 % interest for 84 months and no payments for six months on new car sales, which also helps the 36-year-old business.
“We are among the top dealers in South Florida,” Benitez said.
The deal has been popular for those who can’t make car payments at the moment, Benitez said.
Benitez believes the new ways of buying and selling cars will continue, even after the pandemic is over.

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