Holdcroft Group Fleet will begin vehicle deliveries and collections from Wednesday (April 29), after adapting processes to provide a contactless home delivery service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vehicle collections and deliveries have been suspended by leasing companies during the lockdown, while carmakers have put production on hold across the world.
However, the Department for Transport (DfT) says in a letter to the logistics sector that logistics, including the collection and delivery of vehicles, should carry on during the lockdown, provided that it can be done in accordance with coronavirus safety guidelines.
Group fleet director at Holdcroft Group Fleet, Malcolm Pearson, told Fleet News: “In light of recent advice from the Government regarding delivery of new cars to customer’s homes and their desire to keep the UK economy going, we have adapted our process to accommodate a contactless home delivery service whilst ensuring social distancing and safety for all parties.
“From Wednesday (April 29), we will be recommencing deliveries albeit starting with a low volume while we gradually bring a number of employees back from furlough.”
However, he added: “Due to manufacturers not delivering new stock to us at the moment we can only deliver vehicles we have physically with us.”
Some manufacturers have announced plans to slowly begin production at plants in Europe.
Audi will restart car production at its plants in Europe during the coming weeks, with ‘normality’ expected by the end of the month.
The company announced the temporary suspension of production at its European sites in mid-March due to supply bottlenecks and a drop in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Suppliers and service providers will also restart at the same time, in an effort coordinated with the Volkswagen Group.
PSA Group has also announced a gradual restart of its facilities, including the Ellesmere Port Vauxhall plant.
A multi-franchise dealer group based in the Midlands and North West, Holdcroft is one of largest vehicle retailers in the UK and Holdcroft Group Fleet is a fully licenced transport company operating its own fleet of transporters.
Pearson said: “We are taking all necessary precautions to deliver safely to customer addresses and have recently introduced contactless home delivery for new fleet vehicle orders.
“When booking the delivery this process will be outlined with the customer and will only progress and take place if both parties are completely satisfied with the process.
“All vehicles will be delivered on a transporter - to both reduce the number and length of time we have to spend in a customer car as well as eliminating the need for the use of any public transport ensuring safe return of our employee.”
Delivery drivers will also follow strict protocols in ensuring the vehicle is disinfected. “Drivers are fully equipped with gloves and the correct hand sanitisers,” explained Pearson.
“They will re-wipe all areas they have come into contact with once the new vehicle is parked in the correct new location, before finally wiping the keys and placing at the customers front door and stepping back to allow them to be picked up for the car checked over.”
Customers will not need to sign any paperwork or handheld device but will be asked in advance for permission to sign on their behalf once they have checked the vehicle over externally.
Pearson said: “A down-side to social distancing means the usual level of vehicle demonstration will not be able to take place, but this may also not be possible for many months to come depending on future government guidance around social distancing.
“If the customers are self-isolating, shielding or are nervous, but they still want the car delivered, we will leave the car and allow two hours after to inspect the car and advise us of any concerns.”
In terms of vehicle returns, Holdcroft Motor Group will be instructing the customer that they must be able to clean the car with appropriate anti-bacterial wipes and then not enter the car for three days prior to collection.
The keys must also be wiped at that time and placed in a bag or envelope and be left at the door in the same way it is approaching deliveries of new cars.
“This will reduce the risk of any virus remaining on hard surfaces after three days,” said Pearson. “We will re-wipe handles and keys as necessary before we move the vehicle as well.”