Car dealers are still closed to walk-in customers from March 29 – but showrooms will be fully reopen for test drives and visits in just two weeks.
As the ‘stay at home’ order lifts today and restrictions ease to allow people to move more freely, meet up with up to six people outside and resume group sporting activities, what car dealers can do remains unchanged.
Non essential retail – which includes car dealerships – remains closed until April 12 so the new rules do not alter the way the motor trade is currently operating.
Car dealers are looking forward to the moment they can reopen their showrooms.
Snows Motor Group boss Neil McCue told the Car Dealer Podcast last week that he thinks they’ll be a bounce in demand when showrooms reopen and revealed they’d already seen a pick up in demand.
Meanwhile, Marshall Motor Group boss Daksh Gupta has been counting down the days to his dealers reopening every day on Twitter.
Using a different picture, Gupta has been highlighting the anticipation dealer bosses have at showrooms reopening with tweets on the social media site.
And 14…. pic.twitter.com/HDg1Vexio3
— Daksh Gupta (@MarshallMotorGp) March 29, 2021
What is changing today (March 29)?
Restrictions in England will be relaxed from today to allow groups of up to six people from any number of households or a group of any size from up to two households to gather in parks and gardens with social distancing.
Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts will also reopen, with organised adult and children’s sport – including grassroots football – able to return.
The government’s ‘stay at home’ order will end, with messaging moving to ‘stay local’, but people will be asked to continue to work from home where possible and overseas travel will remain banned.
Are car dealerships open from March 29?
Yes, but online only. Car dealers are deemed non-essential retail so they can continue to offer click-and-collect plus home delivery, as they have done throughout lockdown.
When a customer comes to collect a car, they shouldn’t be doing this inside the showroom or on site where possible – unless the dealership can do so from a workshop bay.
Social distancing protocols must still be in place.
Can you take a test drive from March 29?
It’s been up for debate but many firms have decided test drives are off the table while showrooms are closed. So many will be holding off offering test drives until April 12.
Following the spirit of the rules means test dives are not allowed during the third lockdown. However, some car dealers may allow test drives to take place if you have placed a deposit for the car first.
Can you buy a new or used car from March 29?
Consumers have been allowed to buy cars from dealers since showrooms were first allowed to reopen in June 2020.
While new car dealers shouldn’t be letting you into the showroom to shop for new cars now, you can buy from them online, over the phone or by email.
This month we will have a record month for pure online retailing of used cars! Our tech is delivering!
— Robert Forrester (@vertumotorsCEO) March 26, 2021
The same goes for used car dealers. They’re still allowed to sell their stock but must keep to the same restrictions mentioned above.
You’ll need to buy or pay a reservation for the car before you arrive to collect it or choose to have it delivered to your home.
Can I get my car repaired or serviced now?
Yes, you can. Car repairs and maintenance are deemed essential and these businesses have been able to continue working almost as normal throughout the pandemic.
However, expect social distancing guidelines to be in place and consider your mechanic when taking your car in. As much as you’d expect them to sanitise your car after fixing it, they’d probably appreciate the same!
What restrictions will be eased next in England?
From no earlier than May 17, most social contact rules outside will be lifted although gatherings of more than 30 will remain illegal.
Indoors, the rule of six or two households will apply – although the government has said it will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.
Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.
Limited crowds will also be allowed at sporting events.
All remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted from June 21, allowing for larger events to go ahead and nightclubs to reopen.
When will car dealers be open again?
Car dealers will reopen as they did last summer, from April 12. Expect social distancing and other Covid secure guidelines to remain in place for the foreseeable future, but it will mean customers will be able to browse stock again.
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