DEALER showrooms can reopen from next Monday (June 1) although the process of selling cars will look very different.
That’s the view of Vertu Motors Chief Executive Robert Forrester who told the BBC that his group was putting in a number of safety measures.
These include temperature checking all staff, hand sanitising, masks, perspex screens and one way systems.
Forrester said that customers will have to take test drives on their own which is currently allowed with the use of trade plates under DVLA rule relaxations.
Forrester told the BBC: “It will be quite a major change for customers. There is a fairly obvious potential risk, but I think we trust the vast majority of our customers to do the right thing, do the right routes and come back, but clearly it changes how we sell cars.”
Cars will also be sanitised in between each customer viewing and will be kept locked so a customer will have to find showroom staff to get access.
This would also apply to used and courtesy cars on outdoors forecourts.
Forrester added that Vertu had managed to sell cars during the lockdown with internet sales and inquiries on the increase while there is a pent up demand in the market.
“There are some people who are nervous about public transport so they are looking to buy cars. We have to assess that over the next few weeks. I think the market will be there, the manufacturers particularly want the factories running and want the retailers open.”
The National Franchised Dealer Association welcomed the news that showrooms are set to re-open
Director Sue Robinson said the Association had worked closely with the SMMT to produce guidelines for retailers in line with the Government’s recommendations.
She added: “Retailers have been working hard to put all necessary measures in place to ensure social distancing can be observed.
As lockdown measures start to ease, many of us will need cars to get back to work and it is crucial that automotive retailers are open to serve the workforce. The retail automotive sector looks forward to welcoming customers back into showrooms.”