Car dealerships across England opened on 1st June, but what has been done to ensure the safety of customers? And what can you expect when you walk in?
The coronavirus has shaken the motoring industry to its core. From manufacturing right the way through to buying and selling, the whole aspect of car purchasing has been completely changed. Thankfully, from June 1 and with dealerships in England set to reopen, it does look as though some steps are being made towards normality.
But what is being done to ensure the safety of customers when dealerships do open? Here, we take a look at some of the measures that are set to be implemented.
Most dealerships are adopting an ‘appointment’ style of operating. It means you’ll have to ring ahead to book some time to visit the dealership, which will help to reduce the overall numbers inside the premises. Again, it’s always best to ring ahead to find out how the dealership you want to visit is operating.
A new requirement for dealers is a safety certificate. To be displayed in a dealership window, this will showcase that they comply with government guidance on its management of the coronavirus risk.
It means that if you’re heading to a dealership from June 1, make sure that this certificate is being displayed. Don’t hesitate in calling up, either, to check whether or not these measures have been successfully implemented.
Car dealerships are going to be subject to government inspections to ensure that they are safe to reopen and that social distancing measures are being implemented.
They’ll also be subject to random spot checks as more lockdown measures are eased, which will ensure that dealerships are kept up to code.
In keeping with pretty much every other area of public life at the moment, social distancing measures are going to be enforced in dealerships. Markings on the floor will maintain spacing, and one-way systems are likely to be brought in too.
In addition, the cars on the showroom floor will be kept locked to prevent people from clambering inside.
Masks and screens
When you do visit a dealership, you’ll find that members of staff will be wearing masks to help reduce transfer. In addition, you’ll likely find that plastic screens – similar to those found in supermarkets – will be fitted in areas such as desks.
Do you need to wear a mask while visiting? Government advice currently states that wearing a face covering of any type could help reduce the chance of transfer, so to be on the safe side it could be worthwhile wearing one before entering the dealership.
Different aspects of a dealership that people might have been used to are set to change in order to maintain cleanliness and hygiene standards. You’re not going to see coffee machines anymore, for instance, while brochures and magazines will be removed from shop floors.
Expect an extensive amount of hand sanitiser to be available throughout the dealership, too.
One aspect of the whole car buying process that people enjoy more than any other is test driving. Getting behind the wheel gives a buyer a chance to get to grips with what a car is like while allowing them to find out any niggles or problems they might have with a new motor.
And though test driving is due to be available from June 1, it’s not going to be the same as it was. Dealers are no longer going to be allowed to join buyers on the test route in order to maintain social distancing, which means drivers will be going out solo. Trade plates will need to be used and the correct insurance policy needs to be in place – so double-check with a dealer to make sure that this is in place before you head off. The cars will also be thoroughly sanitised both before and after use.
Of course, if you don’t want to head to a dealership to buy a car then you don’t have to. The coronavirus crisis has forced dealers and manufacturers to adapt, which is why many of them operate online buying services. It allows you to order, pay for, and even organise finance online before the car is delivered directly to your house in a completely contactless process.
There’s also a middle ground – click and collect. This allows those who are happy to collect a car from a dealership to do so but means that everything prior to the collection is organised online.
It seems that a multitude of measures have been put into place to keep customers safe when they do visit a showroom, as well as helping to expand the offerings of a car dealership online.