Government urged to let car dealers open in first phase of lockdown restrictions lifting

Time 10:54 am, April 22, 2020

Pressure is mounting on the UK government to let car dealerships reopen when the first phase of easing the lockdown restrictions is introduced.

It follows the news that Germany had begun allowing car dealerships to open their doors to the public again this week as part of its relaxation of the coronavirus lockdown.

Social distancing still has to be practised there, and in some places it’s also compulsory to wear face masks in public, as well as being recommended elsewhere.

Lobby groups in Germany had written to chancellor Angela Merkel, pictured, warning her that dealerships were staring down the barrel of bankruptcy, and they hailed the move, with the VDA (German Association of the Automotive Industry) saying it was ‘important and necessary’ if production was to be ramped up.

The federal republic has recorded 4,598 deaths from Covid-19 as of April 21 – a figure that’s much lower than many other countries in Europe, with Belgium at 5,828, the UK at 16,509, France at 20,233, Spain at 20,852 and Italy at 24,114 – which is being attributed to widespread and efficient testing as well as carriers being traced.

The UK’s lockdown measures were extended on April 16 for at least three weeks, and it’s believed the disease has now peaked here, so a phased relaxation of the restrictions could be on their way soon.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes told Car Dealer: ‘Reopening car dealerships is a crucial first step to restarting the market and getting the wider economy back on its feet.

‘To drive manufacturing and wider economic growth, we need to see car dealerships in the first wave of retail reopenings. When that time comes and it is safe to do so, the market will return to attracting buyers to showrooms with the latest, safest and cleanest products.’

The National Franchised Dealers’ Association told us that it was currently discussing the matter with its members.

More: How can car dealers start selling and delivering cars again?

More: Lots of informative guides to help get dealers through the current crisis – free in the latest Car Dealer Magazine

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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