Test drives should be unaccompanied, no coffee should be served to customers and click and collect can start from today.
That’s according to official guidance on how dealers can get back to work, which been published today by industry bodies.
The best-practice guidance, drafted in part by the SMMT in consultation with dealers and manufacturers, covers the entire customer experience, from booking appointments to showroom interactions.
News that click and collect would be allowed for those retail premises that must remain shut until at least June 1 emerged this morning – and now the document confirms dealers can operate this way.
It says: ‘From May 13, government guidance allows click and collect services to operate, provided customers do not enter premises which are mandated to be closed [car showrooms are required to remain closed until further notice].
‘Collections must be undertaken outdoors, following all necessary social distancing including the restrictions on meeting others outside, as well as appropriate vehicle sanitation / hygiene measures as identified by your COVID-19 risk assessment.’
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: ‘We welcome today’s clarification that automotive retailers can now operate contactless click and collect services. There is pent up demand in the market.
‘Re-opening car showrooms is now a crucial next step in rebooting the wider industry, helping to support the UK’s economic recovery.’
Test drives, part exchanges and aftersales are all covered by the document. There is also advice on staff training, signage, sanitation and protective personal equipment (PPE).
With regards to PPE the guidance states it should only be used if Covid-19 transmission risk is very high.
It says: ‘Unless you are in a situation where the risk of transmission is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited.’
Developed together with dealers and manufacturers, it is designed to complement government guidance for car dealers and help retailers of all shapes and sizes implement legal requirements as part of individual risk assessments.
It advises regular sanitisation, removing brochures and magazines and not providing refreshments for customers.
It says showroom vehicles and those on the forecourt should be locked, and clear signage provided for visitors on measures they should take.
Test drives should be carried out unaccompanied and trade plates used, after the DVLA offered dispensation for this to be allowed.
Car Dealer reported on the news a group of dealers and manufacturers were working on this guidance behind the scenes 10 days ago.
Hawes added: ‘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.’
The news follows the publication of government guidance earlier today to help businesses across all sectors get back to work safely.
While workshops and vehicle deliveries have been allowed to continue throughout the lockdown period, the closure of sales premises has had a devastating effect on the industry, with the new car market falling -97.3 per cent in April.
The PDF guidance can be found here.
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