It’s lockdown, not shutdown: How are car dealers switching sales online with click-and-collect and buy-online?

Time 7:55 am, November 7, 2020

Car dealers might not be able to open showroom doors to the public for the next 26 days (and counting), but they have a message for the public: It’s lockdown, not shutdown.

In a stark change from the lockdown in March, car dealers have been flicking the switch to online sales and remote working overnight.

The latest set of guidance from the government has said that workshops and garages can remain open for servicing, repairs and MOTs.

However, the caveat on showrooms has changed from previous restrictions and payments for vehicles must be made before they are collected – the same as click-and-collect from a supermarket – or ordered for home delivery.

Fortunately, the last seven months have prepared car dealerships for selling cars using video calls, phone calls or live chat, while many more are now set up for collection or delivery with virtual handovers of new cars.

Vines BMW, based in Surrey, put together the following video hosted by managing director Sean Kelly who had the message that ‘with less journeys taking place, each one is even more important’.

He said: ‘Therefore, our aftersales business is 100 per cent open to look after the service and repair of your vehicles.’

Chorley Group also shared its buy-online service with advisors on hand to answer questions via the website until 11pm every day.

In a video, it says ‘it’s never been easier to buy a car online’.

It has also added extensive PPE worn by all staff on site and a sanitising system to completely clean customer cars before they are handed over.

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The team’s pledge is ‘keeping mobile, keeping safe and keeping the wheels turning’.

Hendy Group put the message that it’s lockdown, not shutdown front and centre on their social media channels.

It said: ‘We will continue to find a way to serve our communities and keep everyone mobile, as we have been doing for 160 years.’

Meanwhile, Big Motoring World boss Peter Waddell had the message ‘go big or go home’ for customers, sharing the companies latest click-and-collect video.

The video explains how the company is set up for collection and home delivery with 4,000 used cars in stock.

CEO of Vertu Motors Robert Forrester shared a statement on the group’s websites explaining how it is still open for business, with a new 14-day money back guarantee added to reassure customers buying from home.

He said: ‘Sales showrooms and used car external display areas will not be open to the public from November 5 until further notice.

‘However, our teams will be in the dealerships to continue car sales remotely and we will be able to send you videos, talk to you via video and meet your needs almost as well as if you were with us.

‘Customers can still collect a car or van which has been purchased either online or via the telephone directly from our dealerships, though the handover will be outside so bring a coat.

‘All vehicle handovers will take place from a designated exterior handover area and full social distancing practices will be in place to ensure both colleague and customer safety.

‘Home delivery options will also be available, and all handled in a Covid safe manner.

‘I realise that buying a car without seeing it first can seem a little daunting but, for your peace of mind, we will be offering a 14 day money-back guarantee.’

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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