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What to expect as car dealerships in England reopen

Buyers can now go and see cars in the metal – but what safety processes should you expect to see?

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Car dealerships in England have been allowed to open from today, following more than two months of closure as a result of measures brought in to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It now means that buyers can go and see vehicles in the metal, as well as place orders and have their cars serviced.

But dealerships aren’t going to look quite the same as they did prior to closure. With new guidance on hygiene being issued and dealers required to comply, the forecourt might not resemble the one you remember. Here are some of the key changes.

You might need to call to make an appointment beforehand

If there’s a car you’d like to view, it might be the case that you need to arrange an appointment prior to visiting the dealership. This will help dealers to keep track of customer numbers heading to the site, while also allowing them to stop overcrowding.

If you’ve got any queries, it’s always best to phone up beforehand.

Floor markers will help maintain social distancing

Markers on the floor of the dealership will be put in place to help maintain social distancing. Almost all doors – excluding fire doors – will be kept open to minimise contact, while it’s likely that many dealerships will employ a one-way system to help with the movement of people.

As always, remember to keep at least two metres away from anyone else.

Hand sanitiser stations will be available throughout

Much the same as in supermarkets, hand sanitiser will be readily available throughout a dealership. Make sure you use it if you’ve come into contact with any surfaces, and before taking a test drive too.

Cars will be locked

Though you used to be able to dip in and out of display vehicles on a dealership floor, that isn’t going to be the case at the moment. Display cars will be kept locked to ensure that people aren’t going into the cars without members of staff being present.

However, if you do want to take a closer look at a car’s interior then you can ask – and the staff nearby will be sanitising it both before and after.

Screens will be in place

In order to conduct meetings which would usually require face-to-face seating, plastic screens will be put in place to make sure that both customers and staff are kept safe.

Expect to see them in places such as the main reception desk, as well as at smaller stations where meetings between salespeople and buyers take place.

Test drives will be solo

Whereas traditionally a dealer would accompany you on a test drive of a new car, that isn’t the case anymore. Test drives will now be undertaken solo, with dealerships likely giving you a predetermined route to follow which will allow you to get a good feel of the car.

The vehicles will also be extensively cleaned both before and after the test drive to make sure that hygiene standards are met.

Online sales will remain

If you don’t fancy visiting a dealership in person, then there are still plenty of options available to you. Many dealerships and manufacturers are operating fully contactless online sales, while some do click-and-collect services too.

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Jack Evans
Jack Evans
Articles by Jack Evans are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.