Car dealers could lose out on custom if they don’t retain Covid measures in their showrooms, warns report
- Half of buyers said they would avoid showrooms without Covid protocol
- Some 55% want social distancing, mask requirements and sanitiser stations
- The report comes as new cars sales have slid to a two-decade low
- Registrations of new models in September were the lowest on record since 1998
Car dealers are being warned they must keep pandemic measures in place in their showrooms if they want to continue attracting customers through the door.
More than half of in-market car buyers say they would avoid dealerships without effective hygiene protocol, such as social distancing guidelines, mask requirements and ample hand sanitiser stations.
What Car?, which conducted the study, said dealers need to recognise the ‘importance of making sure customers feel safe and comfortable in showrooms’ as we enter the colder months, especially with sales of new motors being heavily impacted by a shortage of deliveries.
Keep Covid measures in place, say car buyers: A new poll of drivers has found that more than half will only visit motor showrooms if they have coronavirus protocols
The automotive title surveyed a panel of 1,533 motorists who are currently hunting for a new car.
It found that 55 per cent would avoid a showroom that had removed its coronavirus measures.
When What Car? first asked the same question in July, 63 per cent stated they would avoid visiting showrooms with no restrictions in place, suggesting retailers still need to maintain protocol.
The findings also highlight the discrepancy between actual dealer standards and the wishes of customers.
Of those who had visited a showroom in the past four weeks, 44 per cent said they had been asked to wear a mask, yet 68 per cent of respondents would like to see dealers continue to request staff and customers to wear face masks.
What Car? also asked when customers would like to see restrictions lifted, with 43 per cent stating only when the Government confirms Covid is no longer an issue, while 17 per cent would like to see all restrictions lifted by the end of the year.
Just 11 per cent said they would like to see restrictions removed immediately.
What Car? surveyed 1,533 motorists who are currently hunting for a new car and found that 55% would avoid a showroom that had removed its coronavirus measures
Of those who had visited a showroom in the last month, 44% had been asked to wear a mask. The poll revealed that 68% of car buyers would like to see dealers continue to request staff and customers to wear face masks
Steve Huntingford, editor at What Car?, said dealers need to do all they can to keep visitors happy with new car registrations on the slide
Though no longer enforced by law, government guidelines state businesses and venues can continue to request that customers maintain social distancing and wear masks to reduce the chances of Covid transmission.
Steve Huntingford, editor at What Car?, said dealers need to do all they can to keep visitors happy at this time of year, more so with buyers switching their attention to the used market due to limited production and shortages of new models.
‘As the weather turns cold and we are forced to spend more and more of our time indoors, our latest research highlights the importance of making sure customers feel safe and comfortable in showrooms,’ he said.
‘Retailers should not relax their attitudes to Covid restrictions just yet, given the majority of buyers still want to see them enforced when visiting.’
Just 11% of the panel surveyed said they would like to see restrictions removed immediately
New car sales last month slumped to the lowest level seen in September since 1998. The driving force behind the decline in vehicle registrations is a lack of model availability caused by production restrictions enforced by a shortage of semiconductor computer chips
What Car?’s warning comes just days after official published figures revealed that sales in September – which is usually one of the two biggest months of the calendar for car dealers – were the lowest they’ve been for over two decades.
There were 215,312 new cars sold during the month, down by more than a third on last year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders confirmed.
It’s the lowest volume of sales in September since 1998 – the year before the current two-plate system (one in March and one in September) was introduced.
Declining in sales in recent months has primarily been caused by a shortage of semiconductor computer chips limiting production.
Some car makers were forced to pause outputs at their motor factories and have said back orders for new models are pushing deliveries back by over a year in some cases.
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