Auto Sales Officially Considered 'Essential Service' by U.S. Government

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
auto sales officially considered 8216 essential service by u s government

Updated social distancing guidance released by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on Friday indicates the automotive industry is now an essential business.

Version 3.0 (for those keeping count) of what constitutes “essential critical infrastructure workers” added a number of job descriptions as the federal government mulls how to restart the U.S. economy. Among them is pretty much every job related to automotive manufacturing and sales.

Initially, only those providing vehicular maintenance were deemed essential. But the category has since expanded to include “workers critical to the manufacturing, distribution, sales, rental, leasing, repair, and maintenance of vehicles and other transportation equipment (including electric vehicle charging stations) and the supply chains that enable these operations to facilitate continuity of travel-related operations for essential workers.” The text has grown similarly broad for those in the shipping and taxi industries, basically giving everyone the green light to return to work if their business has anything to do with transportation.

Automotive News suggested the alterations may be in response to various trade organizations dropping overt hints as their respective sectors engage in little to no commerce amid the coronavirus pandemic:

The announcement follows intensive lobbying efforts from auto trade groups — including the National Automobile Dealers Association and American Truck Dealers, American International Automobile Dealers Association, National Independent Automobile Dealers Association and National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, as well as the Alliance for Automotive Innovation — which sent letters to the White House asking President Donald Trump to clarify that certain sales and leasing activities at dealerships are considered essential services.

Initial guidelines from the agency released in mid-March listed vehicle manufacturing, supply manufacturing, maintenance and repair facilities as essential but made no reference to vehicle sales and leasing operations. Car rental and leasing employees were added on March 28.

Of course, there’s nothing requiring states to follow such guidelines. Homeland Security is pretty clear that local governments should always act in accordance with their own needs.

“This list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered, a federal directive or standard. Additionally, this advisory list is not intended to be the exclusive list of critical infrastructure sectors, workers, and functions that should continue during the COVID-19 response across all jurisdictions. Individual jurisdictions should add or subtract essential workforce categories based on their own requirements and discretion,” explained CISA Director Christopher Krebs.

“The advisory list identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing operational functions, among others. It also includes workers who support crucial supply chains and enable functions for critical infrastructure.”

[Image: LM Photos/Shutterstock]

Join the conversation
2 of 22 comments
  • Teddyc73 Teddyc73 on Apr 21, 2020

    It's about time this country gets moving again and we try and repair what had been the best economy in decades, if not ever. Remember all the economic damage done in your state by your Democrat governors when you go into the voting booth.

  • Whatnext Whatnext on Apr 21, 2020

    Dealerships here in BC never closed. Many reduced hours or went to appointment only but you could alaways buy a new car.

  • Art Vandelay Best? PCH from Ventura to somewhere near Lompoc. Most Famous? Route Irish
  • GT Ross The black wheel fad cannot die soon enough for me.
  • Brett Woods My 4-Runner had a manual with the 4-cylinder. It was acceptable but not really fun. I have thought before that auto with a six cylinder would have been smoother, more comfortable, and need less maintenance. Ditto my 4 banger manual Japanese pick-up. Nowhere near as nice as a GM with auto and six cylinders that I tried a bit later. Drove with a U.S. buddy who got one of the first C8s. He said he didn't even consider a manual. There was an article about how fewer than ten percent of buyers optioned a manual in the U.S. when they were available. Visited my English cousin who lived in a hilly suburb and she had a manual Range Rover and said she never even considered an automatic. That's culture for you.  Miata, Boxster, Mustang, Corvette and Camaro; I only want manual but I can see both sides of the argument for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Once you get past a certain size and weight, cruising with automatic is a better dynamic. A dual clutch automatic is smoother, faster, probably more reliable, and still allows you to select and hold a gear. When you get these vehicles with a high performance envelope, dual-clutch automatic is what brings home the numbers. 
  • ToolGuy 2019 had better comments than 2023 😉
  • Inside Looking Out In June 1973, Leonid Brezhnev arrived in Washington for his second summit meeting with President Richard Nixon. Knowing of the Soviet leader’s fondness for luxury automobiles, Nixon gave him a shiny Lincoln Continental. Brezhnev was delighted with the present and insisted on taking a spin around Camp David, speeding through turns while the president nervously asked him to slow down.