Local car sales pro facing pandemic challenges with positivity

Pictured above is Tyler Mason of Donohoo Chevrolet in Fort Payne.  

Tyler Mason graduated from Ider High School in 2007. He has been a Sales Pro at Donohoo Chevrolet, in Fort Payne, for approximately four years. Before working at Donohoo he worked at a Toyota dealership in Gadsden. Becoming a “car guy” was inevitable because he grew up watching his grandfather build antique show cars. “My grandparents took me to car shows all over the place,” said Mason. “They also took me to NASCAR and Formula 1 races.”

Mason said his years in the car business has allowed to him to learn a great deal about a large variety of vehicles, which he enjoys, but what he likes the most is learning about the people behind the cars, their stories is what interests him the most.

The pandemic has stressed many different types of industry, car dealerships included. As of December 24, 2021 CNBC reported, “This year is expected to be the fourth-largest annual decline for U.S. sales since at least 1980. In any normal year, such a rapid fall would have meant an industry in crisis. But in 2020, the overwhelming sentiment is “it could have been worse.”

Thankfully, for Mason he works at what is called a high-volume dealership and they were able to stay in business while other dealerships nationwide have closed. “At the beginning of the pandemic we had to work remotely from home for six-weeks,” said Mason. “Surprisingly, we actually ended up selling more in that six-week period than what was generally sold in six-months. We ended up having a record-breaking sales year.” He also said the company was able to “get ahead” of the change and they have continued to stay productive and actually have added to their sales team during this time.

The automotive industry has seen some huge changes during this time of COVID-19, such as the way inventory is managed. Mason said the sales lot may look low on inventory, but they have been working diligently to get people into vehicles by locating one-year to two-year-old vehicles with ideal pricing whenever an unsold vehicle is not available.

Mason explained that customers learned to deal with major changes when purchasing a vehicle during the height of the pandemic. Mason said new vehicles were purchased without being test driven, the vehicle warranty on a new vehicle had to suffice the customer’s concerns. He said the test driving for pre-sold vehicles was extremely limited only to those who passed the loan approval process and were serious about purchasing. Reason being, the extensive disinfecting process that follows each test-driven vehicle.

While the process has been very different in the past two years Mason wants to thank the community for their trusting him and the company he works for to serve them. Mason said he has seen the community help each other, especially during the pandemic, and he likes the tight-knit feeling and connection a small town offers.

Tyler’s Motto: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt.

— Marla Ballard’s Who's Who appears in the Times-Journal Wednesday editions.

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