Citroen has become the first vehicle manufacturer in the UK to offer deaf and hard-of-hearing customers the chance to use British Sign Language at its dealerships.
It has partnered with SignLive to offer its intuitive video relay service free across the 190-strong sales and aftersales network.
Users communicate using BSL via a video feed linked to a live, fully qualified interpreter.
The French manufacturer has also vowed to enhance accessibility for the deaf community, including BSL representation across its UK advertising, as part of its initiative entitled The French Car That Speaks Your Language.
Eurig Druce, managing director of Citroen UK, said: ‘We understand the needs of our customers and work to exceed those expectations through our products and services.
‘By partnering with SignLive, we once again demonstrate how our customers inspire our thoughts and actions as we improve the way we serve deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
‘The nationwide adoption of SignLive across Citroen UK’s retailers will transform the car-buying process for thousands of motorists, ensuring that it’s not only our products that deliver comfort and serenity for all – the customer experience does as well.’
He added: ‘British Sign Language is used by 150,000 people in the UK, and as a brand, we recognised the need to do more for our customers.
‘We are very proud at Citroen to be the first manufacturer to offer this new level of customer service and hope the rest of the industry follows in our footsteps.
‘Each one of our retailers now uses SignLive, making our network premises more accessible and inclusive than ever before.’
All of Citroen UK’s retailer network employees have been trained to ensure they can easily operate SignLive’s services.
Joel Kellhofer, chief executive of SignLive, said: ‘The process of purchasing a car has, up until now, been inaccessible for the deaf community, with retail experiences on the whole a regular challenge for deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
‘It is great to see a leading retailer like Citroen make a positive change to provide British Sign Language users with access to interpreters for support on their car-buying journey, totally free of charge.
‘We’re delighted to support Citroen and all of its dealerships throughout the UK in making this massive change.’
Amanda Casson-Webb, joint chief executive of the Royal Association for Deaf people, said: ‘This is great news and a positive step in ensuring that the deaf community will have the same opportunity and car-buying experience as hearing people.
‘We know from first-hand experience that the process of buying a new car can be challenging for many deaf people, and hope that other car manufacturers follow Citroen’s lead.
‘Congratulations to Citroen for being the first manufacturer to consider and adopt better accessibility for deaf people!’