Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hinted that the current Lockdown may have to be lengthened way past the hoped-for relaxing of rules in mid-February, saying that an assessment will be made nearer the time.
On top of this, over the weekend The Daily Telegraph reported that the British Government has extended until 17 July the coronavirus laws it has given to local councils, enabling them to close pubs, restaurants, shops and the like.
And in recent days, many ministers have said that we are facing a tough few weeks ahead, which is being interpreted by some as “watch out, Lockdown isn’t going to be lifted any time soon”.
Coupled with rumours that the Government may put a stop to dealerships selling via a click and collect system, this sector is potentially going to continue suffering financially for some time to come, on top of the havoc being wreaked by Covid-19 itself.
Meanwhile the Scottish Government has confirmed that outdoor vehicle lots can remain open to allow “collection of a purchased vehicle or for delivery or collection of a vehicle for repair, service or MOT”. So click and collect is alive and well for dealers north of the border.
Many in the rest of the UK have hung their hopes on providing a safe, socially-distanced sales facility via click and collect, so dealers might feel betrayed if their ability to sell in that way is shut down.
Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), says: “While showrooms have to remain closed, franchised dealers have demonstrated their ability to adapt, providing safe ‘click & collect’ services to their customers. This cannot fully replace the traditional buying experience but will offset some of the issues facing businesses in the short term”.
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