Auto industry calls to reopen car showrooms

Keeping car showrooms closed is costing the UK economy more than £60m a day – but they’re as safe as garden centres say experts

DS Store in Manchester. Car showrooms are spacious areas that are as safe as garden centres, says the industry trade body

The UK automotive industry is calling on the government to give almost 5,000 car showrooms in Britain the green light to urgently reopen, deeming them as safe as garden centres.

Trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says auto retailers are ready to go back to work with social distancing and hygiene measures already in place.

It calculates the daily cost of car showrooms remaining closed to be £61 million, due to lost VAT income and furlough payments for almost 600,000 employees.

“The sector is now ready to return to work,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

“Car showrooms, just like garden centres, are spacious and can accommodate social distancing easily, making them some of the UK’s safest retail premises.”

MG UK auto retail showroom

Mr Hawes said a green light to reopen would stimulate consumer confidence and restart the sale of new cars.

In April 2020, new car registrations were down 97.3 percent.

“Car sales act as the engine for manufacturing and reopening showrooms is an easy and relatively safe next step to help get the economy restarted.

“With every day of closure another day of lost income for the industry, we see no reason for delay.”

The SMMT is backing its call with a campaign called ’10 reasons to #unlockukauto’, highlighting the importance of reopening car showrooms.

This is aimed at encouraging ministers to clear car dealers to reopen, and outlines some of the measures retailers have put in place during the past few weeks.

These include one-way walkways, shielding, contactless transactions, cleaning and test-drive processes, appointment systems and revised showroom layouts.

Many retailers are already offering ‘click and collect’ facilities.

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Richard Aucockhttps://www.motoringresearch.com/
I'm director at Motoring Research. I run a bit, cycle a bit, have a huge love for the automotive industry.

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