How to buy a car: UK car dealers reopen today
The coronavirus lockdown put a lot of things on hold, car sales included, but today car dealerships are being allowed to reopen for the first time since the lockdown was implemented.
In April, new car registrations were down by a staggering 97 per cent so there’s no doubt that significantly fewer new and used cars were being sold. Now it's hoped that opening car showrooms will bring a much needed boost the the industry and to consumers who need to buy cars. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that car dealerships in England would be allowed to reopen from June 1, with appropriate social distancing measures in place, and now the big day has arrived.
Of course, the move raises many questions and challenges for those selling and buying cars. Major changes to the way showrooms operate have had to be brought in but the industry is confident that it can open for business while keeping staff and customers safe.
Here we'll look in for detail at how the big reopening is shaping up and at the other ways in which people can buy cars at the moment. Cars sales have been taking place in the UK for weeks, even with dealerships closed, using the various online options available – not least key workers who have no choice but to keep using the roads.
With all this in mind, below is the key information on how car-buying is different from normal at the moment and what options there are for those who need to make a car purchase and still get a great deal.
Car dealers in England are now allowed to reopen – earlier than most non-essential retail outlets – due to the fact they have large outdoor spaces and are relatively easy to maintain social distancing measures in.
The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) described the news as “positive”, adding that it has worked closely with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in issuing advice to dealers ahead of reopening. The advice covers appointment bookings, showroom interactions, test drives, click and collect services, part exchanges and aftersales, while also advising dealers on how social distancing measures and personal protective equipment should be implemented.
Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA, said: “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.”
Car showrooms in the UK are now open, so you can just walk in and buy a new or used car in the way you would have before the lockdown. But there are many other options available for those who would rather not visit a dealer in person.
Dealerships have been offering click and collect services and remote car sales, while online retailers, such as our sister site Buyacar.co.uk, are still operating and some manufacturers are offering a fully remote new car buying service.
With car showrooms across the UK open you can now look at any prospective purchases in person, removing a major barrier to buying cars that existed during the lockdown. However, there are still options to do in-depth research without leaving your home. We live in an online age where images, specification data and prices of both new and used cars can be viewed on dealer websites and other online buying platforms.
Many dealers have videos accompanying their car listings, often with a voiceover or captions explaining some of the features of the vehicle. In addition, brands such as SEAT and Skoda are having their dealer product experts conduct video livestreams of their cars from their driveways, answering questions from prospective customers about the models they might be interested in and providing other help and advice live.
Further to simply looking at a car online, some platforms allow the entire car-buying and delivery process to take place remotely.
One example is Auto Express’ sister site, Buyacar. Customers can find cars on this site, make their purchase either outright or via a finance package, and then have the car delivered to their home.
There are also a number of brands – such as Peugeot, Tesla and Vauxhall – with online or app-based sales platforms already in place so buying a car from the comfort of your own home was perfectly possible before the coronavirus struck.
Has coronavirus changed your car-buying plans? Take our survey and tell us how…
Production of the Mercedes-AMG One – Merc’s hugely complex F1 engine-powered car [..]
The new Alfa Romeo Tonale is now on sale in the UK, [..]
Car company bosses come in all shapes and sizes. Elon Musk is [..]
Porsche has won countless races around the Nurburgring in its history, and [..]
The A-Class was the fourth best-selling vehicle in Britain last year and [..]