New sector-specific guidance has been released for car dealers reopening on Monday.
The guidance highlights the ‘unique nature’ of automotive retail and how dealers of all shapes and sizes will be challenge to operate safely ‘in the eyes of their employees and the wider community’.
The document has been devised by the SMMT and NFDA to cover best practices for the entire customer experience.
This covers from booking appointments to test drives and showrooms experiences, and aftersales practices.
The document has been designed to compliment government, which has again been slightly revised for all types of retail since shops and car dealers were last allowed to open.
Car dealers will be allowed to reopen tomorrow (Ap 12) for the first time since January 4, and for some who were in Tier 4 regions before the wait has been even longer.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘It’s been a long wait but automotive retailers are ready, willing and able to welcome customers back into showrooms.
‘While click-and-collect has helped the sector survive, it cannot replace the experience of choosing and test driving a new car in person.
‘Reopening these premises will also boost UK car manufacturing, as the reduced demand caused by their closure has led to months of lower production.’
He added: ‘Consumers returning to showrooms will notice some changes, not just in the updated Covid safety measures, but also in the increasing choice of new car technologies and there are now more ‘green’ choices than ever before.
‘With 150 models of battery electric, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell and hybrid electric vehicles on sale, that’s one in three models capable of zero emission motoring.’
Sue Robinson, NFDA chief executive, said: ‘Opening showrooms will allow the economy to get moving again.
‘With confidence in public transport safety at a 20-year low, private transportation will play an essential role in enabling people to return to their daily lives.
‘It is positive that the automotive industry is proactively working together to resume business as soon as possible in line with the government’s guidelines.
‘The guidance will ensure over 4,500 franchised dealerships provide the best possible service in sales and aftersales while protecting staff and guests.
‘Automotive retailers will be working hard to overcome any challenges to safely welcome customers back to the showrooms.’