New-car showrooms across the country are still open for business amid the coronavirus outbreak – as this article was published on Friday morning – however many dealerships have started to scale back their operating hours.
Some dealerships have moved to five or four-day weeks, while others have rostered staff to work one week on and one week off so they can keep the doors open for as long as possible.
An increasing number of dealers have also begun offering “contactless” quotes on new cars, trade-ins, finance arrangements and test drives by handling most of the enquiries over the phone and email, and bringing cars to people’s homes to test drive.
The first notifications to customers went out on social media and email yesterday, but numerous other dealerships have since followed suit.
While the handover of keys to new cars is still a face to face process – albeit while maintaining social distancing – the explanation of a new vehicle’s features can now be done over the phone or using video smartphone apps such as FaceTime.
Car dealerships around the world are reporting a dramatic slowdown in enquiries as countries face lockdowns, however most are able to stay open.
Car dealers in Australia contacted by CarAdvice claim they are still delivering new cars but enquiry levels are slowing.
This puts buyers in the box seat when it comes to finding a bargain, as dealers are keen to move metal in what is customarily the second-biggest month for new-car sales as it is the end of the Japanese financial year.
Earlier in the week, the Australian Automotive Dealers Association (AADA) had lobbied state and federal governments to stay open as an “essential service”.
In particular, the parts and service departments are key to perform routine maintenance and recalls that are critical to road safety.
Furthermore, members of the public will increasingly rely on cars as they shun public transport and ride-sharing services to avoid COVID-19.
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