The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) have issued guidance for the safe reopening of car retail sites.
It is expected that dealerships will reopen from June 1, as the country enters the next stage of the Government’s lockdown relaxation.
While workshops and vehicle deliveries have been allowed to continue throughout the lockdown period, many sites have remained closed, opting to furlough staff instead.
The closure of sales premises has had a substantial effect on the entire industry, with the new car market falling 97.3% in April.
Fleets and key workers have also struggled to access aftersales services, with a limited number of sites open for business.
Sue Robinson, NFDA Director, said, “People need cars to get back to work. Often, getting work done requires the use of a vehicle. It is positive that the automotive industry is working together to resume business as soon as possible in line with the government’s guidelines. The guidance will allow automotive retailers to provide the best possible service in sales and aftersales while protecting staff and guests. Automotive retailers are resilient and will be working hard to overcome any challenges to safely welcome customers back to the showrooms.”
The SMMT and NFDA’s best-practice guidance covers the entire customer experience, from booking appointments to showroom interactions, test drives, click & collect, part exchanges and aftersales, and includes advice on staff training, signage, sanitation and protective personal equipment (PPE).
Developed together with dealers and manufacturers, it is designed to complement government guidance for the overall UK retail sector, to help dealers of all shapes and sizes implement legal requirements as part of individual risk assessments in line with their unique business and customer needs.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “A healthy new car market is a barometer of a strong economy and, with mobility so crucial to our everyday lives, now is the time to allow showrooms to re-open their doors. This guidance signals that Automotive is ready to get back to work to support the government as it sets the wheels of the UK’s recovery in motion, drive manufacturing and help get consumers and businesses safely back on the move in the latest, cleanest, high-tech vehicles.”