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THE Department for Transport (tft) has announced a six-month exemption from MOT testing, enabling people to continue to travel to work if necessary or shop for necessities.

All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require an MOT test will be exempted from needing a test from 30 March.

Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles. Advice on keeping a vehicle in a good condition.

People should stay at home and avoid travel. The only reasons people should leave their homes is set out in the government guidance.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We must ensure those on the frontline of helping the nation combat COVID19 are able to do so.

“Allowing this temporary exemption from vehicle testing will enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people get essential food and medicine.

“Safety is key, which is why garages will remain open for essential repair work.”

Legislation will be introduced on March 30 and will come into immediate effect for 12 months, following a short consultation with key organisations. Drivers will still need to get their vehicle tested until the new regulations come into place, if they need to use it.

If you can’t get an MoT that’s due because you’re in self-isolation, the Department for Transport is working with insurers and the police to ensure people aren’t unfairly penalised for things out of their control.

Practical driving tests and annual testing for lorries, buses and coaches have been suspended for up to three months.

BookMyGarage has rolled out a new MOT collection and delivery option for franchised dealers to offer customers now ordered to stay at home during the coronavirus crisis.

The new No-Contact Collect and Deliver option has been launched on SecretService, BookMyGarage’s dedicated online booking platform for franchised dealers, to enable customers to ensure their vehicles remain legal and roadworthy.

With garages exempt from the latest government rules on business closures, the service removes the need for face-to-face interaction as customers will be asked to place their keys in a bag and inform the garage of their location.

Personal hygiene considerations will include drivers wearing gloves and using seat covers. 

BookMyGarage has been closely monitoring events elsewhere in Europe where dealers in several countries had already been forced to suspend their showroom operations, while workshops were recognised as important safety related businesses and therefore not been required to shut.

Karen Rotberg, Co-Founder of BookMyGarage, said: “We moved quickly to rollout this new option on SecretService for dealers able to offer a collection and delivery service to keep their workshops utilised and their customers safe.”

The service will apply to all online bookings made from 1 May.

“These are fast changing times. We wish all dealers well during this crisis and are here to help them keep their customers safe and protect their all-important workshop businesses,” said Rotberg.

Online support

Click Dealer, which supports thousands of independent dealers across the UK, has made its ClickEngage platform free for the next three months.

ClickEngage enables a consumer to build a deal and buy the vehicle online. It offers part exchange appraisal add on products and finance all from home.

Click Dealer hopes dealers will use its ClickEngage platform to engage with prospective customers online and build a sales pipeline.

The family-owned business has also announced it will not charge for its Web and DMS services for the duration of a lockdown and is committed to keeping these services live.

The company is also making its Market Insight data available for free. The report provides key performance indicators for the used car retail market. It helps dealers to measure their business performance to that of the wider market.

Online training

The recently launched, Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) – embracing the long-established ICFM – is anticipating a membership boom with demand for its online distance learning courses increasing as the coronavirus pandemic bites.

AFP, which undertakes fleet industry training under the new Fleet Academy banner, following the merging of ICFM and trade organisation ACFO’s operations, offers both its Introductory Certificate in Car Fleet Management and Intermediate Certificate levels in Car and LCV Fleet Management programmes as online distance learning courses.

Only its Diploma (Advanced Level) Programme is exclusively tutor-based and the Fleet Academy has, in the light of UK Government advice and guidance, taken the decision to postpone further classroom-based training for that course as well as that for the Certificate course until September.

However, any resumption will be kept under review as Government guidance dictates. The Introductory Certificate course is only available online.

Fleet Academy sales and marketing director Peter Eldridge said: “The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is having a seemingly unprecedented in at least a generation impact on the world generally and the fleet industry as a whole. 

“The Fleet Academy is committed to providing online courses that take into account the limitations on travel and social gathering that we are all facing, and will continue to do so over the coming months.”

Training courses are applicable to fleet decision-makers – fleet operators, but also including those with fleet responsibility working in HR, finance and procurement roles and the fast-emerging mobility function.

The courses are also available to employees of companies supplying a wide range of services to fleets including contract hire and leasing and fleet management companies and dealer-based corporate fleet personnel.

The road ahead

INDICATA, leader in used vehicle pricing and market analysis, has released a new free-to-download White Paper which looks at the short, medium, and long-term effects of Covid-19 on the European used car industry, particularly dealer groups and OEMs. 

INDICATA analyses nine million used vehicle advertisements across Europe each day which enables it to gain a strong view of demand and retail market pricing by country which gives vendors the earliest warning of market issues such as Covid-19 or opportunities.

By analysing the number of vehicle adverts removed from the internet, INDICATA data assessed consumer used vehicle sales activity. Northern Europe saw a sales fall of 21.5% between 11 and 18 March, while southern Europe, including Italy fell by 44% during the same period. 

The data reveals dramatic falls in used car sales in Italy, France and Spain while the UK and Germany are down less so.

Andy Shields, INDICATA’s global business unit director and White Paper author said: “The relationship between the increase in the number of people with Covid-19 and the measures each individual government introduces to fight the pandemic is already having a detrimental impact on European dealers and OEMs. 

“Countries will have different challenges at different times and it’s all about equipping companies with the right data to help assist them to make fast decisions, which is where our pricing insights come into their own. 

Dealers and Dealer Groups

INDICATA said Dealers will face significant challenges as new vehicle volumes come under real pressure and in a hostile market, stock turn is the most powerful weapon for defending profitability.

In a market where used prices are falling and sales rates slowing, it will be vital for dealers to focus heavily on ensuring their pricing policies do not allow any vehicle to age and become uncompetitive in price. Buying the right stock, and constantly repricing it to the market will be the key to success.

Covid-19 will reduce consumer showroom traffic and the few buying customers will go even more online. Increasing the number of effective web leads will be key to starting the sales process off. Dealers implementing online trade-in valuation tools can double web effectiveness. 

 


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