Carry on selling, Scottish government tells car dealers – but you can only let people inside to sign paperwork

Time 10 months ago

The Scottish government has confirmed that car dealers in Level 4 can continue selling vehicles from their sites – but customers will only be allowed inside showrooms to complete the paperwork.

The guidance around how dealerships can operate in the 11 council areas that are currently under the tightest restrictions in Scotland has left many confused.

The Level 4 measures, similar to a full lockdown, will apply from 6pm on Friday (Nov 20) in Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

The planned end date for the restrictions is currently December 11.

The guidance from the Scottish government explicitly lists ‘outdoor car lots’ and ‘car repair and MOT services’ in the essential business list but the rules on indoor showrooms have been vague.

Yesterday, Scottish Motor Trade Association CEO Sandy Burgess warned dealers in these councils to avoid fines by making it clear that shopping in showrooms isn’t allowed.

The latest update from the Scottish government says that paperwork can be completed inside, meaning car dealers can sell cars from their pitch but all other parts of the sale should happen outside the showroom.

The statement also confirmed that test drives are allowed with the proper precautions and that the guidelines are set out this way so that ‘those that have an immediate need to purchase a vehicle can do so’.

The response to Car Dealer from the Scottish government reads: ‘We are committed to ensuring no restriction is in place a moment longer than necessary to protect public health and reduce transmission of the virus.

‘Under the current guidelines on essential businesses, outdoor car lots are included to ensure those that have an immediate need to purchase a vehicle can do so.

‘It is possible for customers to test drive a vehicle before purchasing, taking the appropriate precautions as set out in the guidance – and for paperwork to be concluded in the showroom.’

Its guidance on a safe test drive says car dealers should ensure ‘the same physical distancing, vehicle cleaning and ventilation measures set out in the driving lesson guidance before and after taking a test drive’.

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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