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Video: Inside a franchised car dealer as it reopens for business

Time 11 months ago

Car Dealer Magazine was at Snows BMW in Portsmouth, Hampshire, on June 1 as its doors opened for the first time in 10 weeks.

The business, like all showrooms across the United Kingdom, closed as part of the nationwide lockdown to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

But today (June 1) its 50 showrooms in the south of England reopened, all adhering to strict new guidelines to contain the spread of the disease.

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In this video, shot by Car Dealer Magazine, Steve Churchill, franchise aftersales manager at Snows BMW/Mini, tells how the business has changed and adapted to the challenges posed by Covid-19.

‘When we went into lockdown, the business remained open for key workers and emergency response vehicles with a team of seven,’ he said.

Churchill explained that while the day-to-day work remained relatively normal during the past 10 weeks, how the work was carried out did change.

‘Our inquiries have been coming through digitally, and we have been trying to reduce the number of telephone inquiries and footfall through the showrooms. There has been a big growth towards online.

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‘We have had to make changes to the showroom and the way we operate to be safe for customers and our colleagues. We’ve introduced measures like a one-way system, for example, and when a car comes in for work our technicians have been using floor mats, seat covers and sanitising products.’

Staff have been wearing masks and gloves, and special screens have been installed at desks to protect customers and staff.

Churchill also said that customers had appreciated the new safety steps and been relaxed. Some were more anxious than others, he added, but videos created by the company to explain the changes had proved successful.

‘In the future, business will change – it will not be the same,’ he said. ‘We need to treat this as a way of changing things we have done in the past.’

You can watch the full video above or by clicking here to visit our YouTube channel. Subscribe for daily Car Dealer Live videos.

The huge steps car dealers are taking to safely reopen

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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