Coronavirus: Car dealers given green light to reopen from today

Published 01 June 2020

Car dealerships have been given the go ahead by the Government to reopen, as part of a package of measures designed to ease the coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown. 

From today, "non-essential" shops can reopen in England as long as they meet strict COVID-19 guidelines that are designed to reduce crowding and maintain social distancing between staff and customers. 

The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) and Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has already published its sector-specific guidance. This includes a ban on physical paper car brochures, two metre social distancing and the introduction of unaccompanied test drives.

Further measures include regular sanitisation of demo vehicles, sanitiser stations, Perspex screens between customers and employees where possible and potential temperature checks for employees and appointment-only sales.

However, while every showroom in the UK can reopen from 1 June, many will remain closed. HonestJohn.co.uk has spoken to a number of dealer groups and many have said they will introduce a gradual lift to the lockdown, with many smaller franchises remaining closed.

Marshall Motor Group has over 100 showrooms in the UK and its CEO Daksh Gupta said: "All of our sites have made layout changes for two metre spacing, implemented clear signage and introduced enhanced front-of-house and back-of-house cleaning procedures and ‘no touch’ policy to ensure that social distancing rules are followed.​"

Vertu Motors chief executive Robert Forrester said unaccompanied test drives would be one key area of change for car buyers at Vertu Motors sites across the UK.

Have you visited a car dealership recently? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

Comments

Engineer Andy    on 1 June 2020

I wonder if they'll let people sit in the cars or test-drive them, given they technically have to be sanitised afterwards.

hissingsid    on 1 June 2020

I have just heard on the BBC Lunchtime News that test drives will be allowed, but that no salesman will accompany you. It's not all bad news!

Engineer Andy    on 1 June 2020

I have just heard on the BBC Lunchtime News that test drives will be allowed, but that no salesman will accompany you. It's not all bad news!

I bet car thieves will love it! Leave a fake piece of ID or fake credit card and off you go!

What do the staff do when the tester returns? Thoroughly disinfect the inside (including the seat) - that must take ages and cost a lot given how many people (rightly) need to sit in the cars and take them out for a test-drive.

I bet the car brokers will find this amusing, given they can just use dealerships as shop fronts without all the extra costs...

Simonski    on 1 June 2020

I think it’s the way forward in any event. People do most their research before they visit the dealer. Daksh Gupta of Marshall’s is one of the most forward thinking dealers out there and will do everything to make the buying experience straightforward and positive for everyone.
ps. I don’t work for Marshall’s, but know him in a previous role.

Stephen Sparrow    on 2 June 2020

In England or across the UK?

Engineer Andy    on 2 June 2020

In England or across the UK?

I suspect at present it's just England. I do believe though that many car dealerships are already open - just for servicing, repairs/parts and MOTs.

I had a look on my local one and they are now going to operate an appointment system to limit the number of customers in the building.

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