12 April lockdown easing: NFDA and SMMT publish updated safe restart guidance

Published:  12 April, 2021

With the reopening of non-essential retail permitted from today (Monday 12 April), the franchised dealer sector has swung its showroom doors back open across much of the UK. To help businesses welcome customers back new updated sector-specific guidance has been published by the NFDA and the SMMT.

The best-practice guidance covers everything from booking appointments to showroom interactions, test drives, click-and-collect, part-exchanges and aftersales, and includes advice on staff training, signage, sanitation and PPE.

Commenting on the updated restart guidance, NFDA Chief Executive Sue Robinson said, “Opening showrooms will allow the economy to get moving again. With confidence in public transport safety at a 20-year low, private transportation will play an essential role in enabling people to return to their daily lives. It is positive that the automotive industry is proactively working together to resume business as soon as possible in line with the government’s guidelines. The guidance will ensure over 4,500 franchised dealerships provide the best possible service in sales and aftersales while protecting staff and guests. Automotive retailers will be working hard to overcome any challenges to safely welcome customers back to the showrooms.”

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes added: “It’s been a long wait but automotive retailers are ready, willing and able to welcome customers back into showrooms. While click-and-collect has helped the sector survive, it cannot replace the experience of choosing and test driving a new car in person. Reopening these premises will also boost UK car manufacturing, as the reduced demand caused by their closure has led to months of lower production.

“Consumers returning to showrooms will notice some changes, not just in the updated COVID-19 safety measures, but also in the increasing choice of new car technologies and there are now more “green” choices than ever before. With 150 models of battery electric, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell and hybrid electric vehicles on sale, that’s one in three models capable of zero emission motoring.”

To view the guidance visit: www.nfda-uk.co.uk/downloads/guidance/NFDA-SMMT-Industry-Guidance-COVID-19-Protective-Measures-for-Auto-Retail-090421.pdf

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