Motor trade seek to reopen on the 5th of April
Dealerships to open up again in April
As part of the easing of restrictions, car dealerships are looking to re-open from 5th of April as they see themselves as a safe environment. Ordinarily, showrooms have low footfall and plenty of room for ‘social distancing’.
When speaking about service garages being open for business throughout the lockdown because of being an ‘essential service’, the President of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), Gillian Fanning said:
“We have shown we can operate very safely for service and repair, ensuring the continuation of our supply chain and our vehicles are safe.
“The fact that people are now more reliant on private cars from a personal safety perspective, we request from the government that we can open our sales operations from the 5th of April, even if this is on a click and collect basis.”
It is becoming apparent that many people have no problem with visiting dealerships as a recent national survey indicates. The survey found that 75 per cent of those asked would be comfortable visiting car dealerships or garages after travel restrictions have been lifted.
Car dealers are highlighting the fact that because of the low average footfall, and also the ability to just have viewing by appointment is a good reason for them to be allowed to open.
Having cars on display outdoors for example is perfect for any ‘social distancing’ requirements. This naturally lends itself to safe vehicle retailing making buying a car very low risk. The Director General of simi, Brian Cooke, said:
“With the improving weather and longer days, car sales can be transacted entirely in an outdoor setting, further reducing the already low risk environment.”
The industry sees the reopening as extremely important as new car sales are currently down by 13 per cent compared to this time last year. Calls are going out for the Cabinet to take decisive action now to prevent further job losses. Brian Cooke went on to say:
“With over 40,000 people employed in the sector, it is crucial to the economy as our industry has already been heavily impacted by the pandemic, with the impact on new car sales last year added to the 2021 shortfall coming in at over € €1 billion, of which €400 million is lost in Exchequer funding. Our members are ready to re-open their showrooms once conditions allow, but an interim move to a click and collect basis is of vital importance to local businesses and employment.”