NJ car dealerships call on governor to allow limited reopening: We're at an 'inflection point'

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If New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy were to allow car dealerships to reopen showrooms on a limited basis, about 40 to 50 percent of their revenue stream could return, the president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers said Tuesday.

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In an interview on the "Fox & Friends" with host Steve Doocy, Jim Appleton said that while he believes the Democratic governor and his team are doing an "extraordinary job" in their response to the coronavirus pandemic, business for car dealerships is down 70 to 80 percent statewide.

"I mean, let me start by saying I think the governor and his team – Health Commissioner Persichilli and Police Superintendent Callahan – have done just an extraordinary job keeping us informed and keeping us safe here in New Jersey," he remarked. "And, I give the governor a lot of credit for swiftly and decisively moving when the crisis hit in mid-March in a cautious and a deliberate way to manage this shutdown."

"But," Appleton continued, "right now we're at an inflection point. Businesses and communities are struggling. And, we need to act just as quickly and decisively to reopen with all the appropriate safeguards those businesses that can help restart the economy, put people back to work, and generate that much-needed revenue for the state of New Jersey."

"And, those are businesses like car dealerships," he explained.

"The state of New Jersey is losing $4.5 million per day on lost sales tax revenues and motor vehicle fees," added Appleton.

"We have offered up a detailed protocol, reopening the dealership showrooms by appointment that, as you say, we think we can get back at least half of that business at this point in time," he told Doocy.

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Currently, Delaware and Connecticut – both part of the multistate consortium with New Jersey – are running their auto dealerships on an appointment-only basis. New Jersey state Senate President Stephen Sweeney has offered his support for this reopening plan.