From Monday 12 April in England and Wales, and 5 April in Scotland (Northern Ireland has yet to reveal its hand), car dealerships will be allowed to reopen. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), certainly thinks so: “Over the past few months, click and collect has been a lifeline for the sector, but nothing replaces the face-to-face customer experience. Since March 2020, the industry has recorded a £23 billion loss, so the importance of retailers being open for business should not be underestimated.”
Our advice? Get in early. According to a poll of 3000 people by our friends at What Car?, car buyers are emerging from Covid-19 hibernation in their droves. Visits to What Car?’s new car deals pages have grown by nearly a fifth (18.1%) compared with the first 14 days in February, while almost a quarter (22.9%) of those polled plan to buy a car in the next three months. It’s going to be busy.
It’s also the start of a new business quarter, so look out for those generous deposit contributions, low APRs and subsidised servicing packages. Here’s all you need to know for a car-happy 12 April.
WHAT WILL DEALERSHIPS BE LIKE?
Expect to find one-way systems, hygiene stations and limits on customer numbers. Face coverings and social distancing will be enforced. On arrival, your temperature may be taken. Supported by the government furlough scheme, which has been extended to September, dealerships may be limiting staff numbers, so you may have to wait longer to be seen. When you are, handshakes and elbow bumping won’t be allowed.
WHAT ABOUT ACCESS TO CARS AND TEST DRIVES?
Showroom cars will be locked and their interiors wiped down after each viewing. The same will apply to used cars on the forecourt. Test drives will be allowed but will be unaccompanied.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE?