Car dealers told they can start selling and delivering cars again

Online and telephone sales allowed, while contactless delivery protocols must be followed...

Online car buying

Car dealers have been told they can start selling and delivering cars again, so long as they abide by all social distancing regulations.

The news confirms that car dealers are allowed to chat with customers online or over the phone - including completing the sale of cars - and to deliver vehicles so long as they follow strict contactless delivery protocols.

Read more: How contactless car delivery can help you during the coronavirus crisis

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) told Car Dealer Magazine: “We have asked non-essential shops like car dealerships and showrooms in England to close, unless they provide urgent car repairs and other necessary services.

“They are all able to continue to sell cars remotely and deliver cars, as long as they follow our clear guidance from Public Health England to protect both employees who cannot work from home and their customers.”

Many car dealers are already set up for online chat - either using their own systems or through portals such as What Car?’s New Car Buying marketplace. However, this latest announcement is set to prompt many to engage more staff to deal with an anticipated surge in enquiries.

Research by What Car? during the lockdown has recently revealed that 5% of visitors to its website are expecting to buy a new car within four weeks, and 20% as soon as lockdown ends, suggesting that there is pent-up demand among buyers. It also revealed that more than half of prospective buyers expect a reply to an enquiry from dealerships within half a day if they are going to do business with them.

Because of this pent up demand, coupled with reduced supply because of factory closures, buyers have also been urged to move fast to secure stronger deals from retailers and manufacturers keen to do business. Latest data from What Car?’s Target Price mystery shoppers suggests there are still strong discounts available, but that they are likely to reduce as demand grows.

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Read more: all the latest coronavirus advice for drivers >>