Cars.com Inc., a leading digital marketplace and solutions provider for the automotive industry, announced its response in support of dealers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CARS is offering a robust program of immediate dealer incentives and unique digital solutions aimed at driving dealer profitability, service capabilities and sales to a growing segment of consumers who are seeking more digital car-shopping options such as home delivery, virtual appointments, chat tools and video.
Alex Vetter, president and CEO of CARS, commented, “Our dealer customers are facing unprecedented and uncertain near-term business impacts. Due to the unique circumstances with every customer, we are offering a range of flexible solutions including immediate financial relief as well as expanded digital retail solutions to address today’s shopper needs. Our immediate focus is on helping car shoppers better connect with dealerships and navigate their car-buying process online during this time of social distancing and staying at home. Our customers understand, now more than ever, that a strong digital presence is needed to help weather this storm.”
Vetter continued, “To date, first quarter 2020 results have been tracking in line with internal expectations, with seven business days remaining. However, the significant uncertainty of the impact of COVID-19 to our customers, business closures across the country and the resulting impact on the broader economy demand that we aggressively respond to support our customers going forward. It is therefore prudent to suspend our 2020 guidance at this time. Our response to help support our dealer partners in the current environment will have a near-term impact on our revenue, and accordingly, we have taken immediate actions to mitigate the impact on our financial performance.”
Customer actions include:
- Immediate Financial Relief to Dealers: Dealer customers will receive 50% off April and 30% off May and June bills automatically applied across Cars.com and DealerRater.
- Virtual Retail Solutions: In addition to the company’s existing range of digital solutions that help dealers serve car buyers from home, they have launched a collection of new, no-cost merchandising and digital solutions including Home Delivery and Virtual Appointment badging, chat and video. These products drive traffic and improve dealership digital operations.
- CARS Cares: They are monitoring the COVID-19 situation in real time and have launched the CARS Cares website to keep customers up to date on the retail solutions and real-time actions and decisions Cars.com is taking to best service and support them.
- Federal Aid and Support: They are working with policymakers and industry groups to help dealerships get the local and federal support needed to manage through this time, including federal stimulus and essential business status.
Company actions include:
- Substantial reduction of expenses.
- Prudent draw down on its revolving credit facility to provide additional liquidity of $165 million. The company maintains strong relationships with its banks, and continues to have ongoing conversations with them on financial performance and metrics.
Vetter concluded, “As we continue to navigate through this challenging business environment, we remain committed to prudent management of our financial resources and a heightened focus on our stated capital allocation objectives of de-leveraging and continuing to invest in initiatives that connect our dealer and OEM customers to our in-market car shoppers. We believe our actions are aligned with building long-term shareholder value, as well as fortifying our position as the fastest growing online automotive marketplace and true dealer advocates.”