England’s car dealerships have reopened

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More than two months after they were forced to close by the you-know-what, new and used car dealerships in England are allowed to reopen from today. Providing, of course, they comply with Government guidance on social distancing.

With dealerships closed UK car sales fell by 97 per cent in April. Meanwhile the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which claims keeping dealerships closed cost the Treasury £61million A DAY, expects just 1.68million cars to be registered in the UK in 2020. That’s the lowest yearly total for almost three decades.

In this new reality dealers may take appointments to limit the number of people in their showrooms, which should have been kitted-out with lots of new signage, supplies of hand sanitiser and so-on, and keep cars in said showrooms locked. Meanwhile most test-drives will now be unaccompanied, and everything will be thoroughly cleaned on the reg.

That said, nowadays you don’t really need to go into a dealership to buy a car. Some manufacturers have used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to expand their online offerings, meaning now it’s easier than ever to buy a new car without leaving your sofa. Others, like Tesla, have been doing it for ages already (the Model 3 was the UK’s best-selling car in April).

Have you held off buying a new car because of the pandemic? Have you ever bought one online? Will you be visiting a car dealership this week?