Automotive sector ready for Plan B

The automotive industry is well prepared to absorb the new Plan B Covid-19 restrictions, as imposed by the government this week.

The restrictions call for home-working wherever possible, and stipulates that masks must be worn indoors in a range of situations.

Auto Trader’s commercial director, Ian Plummer, said:This is the news that we were all hoping wouldn’t come. However, the response of automotive retailers in previous times of tougher restrictions gives us confidence for the coming weeks. In fact, in April 2021 when far stricter restrictions were in place, which required forecourts to remain closed but click and collect was allowed, used car transactions were down by just 6% on the same period in 2019.

“The industry was able to successfully manage those restrictions because retailers were quick to adopt to online retailing and took steps to enable consumers to complete as much of the car buying journey as remotely as possible. This included offering Click & Collect and home delivery services, as well as personal video walk-throughs, and scheduled appointments. We would highly recommend that retailers continue to make use of these services, ensuring they are featured prominently on their adverts, in their marketing and across their digital forecourts.

“There are plenty of other reasons for retailers to remain confident, not least the strong levels of consumer demand we’re tracking in the market. We have not seen any change in this since the news last night. Coupled with the broader positive economic outlook, we don’t see that the government’s latest measures should deter consumers from buying a car. The most successful retailers over the coming weeks will be those that make it as easy, and as safe as possible for them to do so.”