Dealers in Wales are coming to terms with a full lockdown that will see their showrooms closed once again from Friday.
The ‘sharp and deep’ lockdown will begin at 6pm on October 23 and last until November 9, with everyone in Wales required to stay at home, as reported by Car Dealer.
Richard Hughes, boss of White Dove Motor Group, which has dealerships in Cardiff, told Car Dealer the industry will need more support from manufacturers to survive the break in trading.
The furlough scheme comes to an end on October 31, with firms covered by the small business rates relief handed a £1,000 payment, but most car dealers will be outside that category.
Hughes said: ‘It was just a matter of time with those rumours and leaks last week for lockdown to be confirmed.
- Can car dealers in Wales still sell cars during the firebreak lockdown? And what about garages and MOTs?
‘The £1k payment is a waste of time and I am not really sure if they will give any more support for individual sectors.
‘I’m hoping the manufacturers get together and support the dealer network with some sort of guarantee bonus scheme for the whole quarter, as the last half of Q4 is always difficult.’
Last week, Car Dealer reported that manufacturers were beginning to guarantee bonuses for some networks as local lockdowns and restrictions began to hit business across the country.
Before the lockdown was announced, car dealers in Wales reported that the ban on travelling between areas had already seen new car sales drop by as much as 70 per cent.
Dealers in Wales will now be forced back to delivering cars to people’s homes only under the new rules – the restrictions say click-and-collect is not allowed.
Hughes added: ‘I’ve read the rules and we will operate through our digital team and offer nationwide delivery.
‘In fact, most inquiries and sales in the last three weeks have been from England and Scotland anyway.
‘The financial implications for the whole country will be huge over the next three weeks. It’s been a miserable three weeks leading up to this with travel restrictions.’
The Welsh government has said an extra economic resilience fund of almost £300m has been created to support businesses.
The first minister has also written to the chancellor to ask him to give Welsh businesses early access to the newly expanded Job Support Scheme from Friday.
The Welsh government has offered to pay the extra costs to the UK government scheme to ensure businesses can retain staff.
Hughes said: ‘We will adapt to the current setbacks. We have a strong balance sheet, plenty of firepower and have a great management team who don’t suffer fools gladly.
‘If anything, this has sharpened up our sales processes and direct marketing campaigns.’