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The UK is leaving lockdown, and physical dealerships are allowed to open again. Please check local guidance for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If your local dealerships are still closed, or you don't feel comfortable going into the dealership right now, then there are plenty of online buying options, including home delivery, available on Auto Trader.

With Auto Trader’s app, expert reviews, YouTube channel and new advert features, now is a great time to research your next car. And soon, you’ll be able to choose whether to safely buy online or get back to the showroom floor.
What you have to do at this time
As per Government advice, you must stay alert at all times and follow the guidance local to you.

If you, or any of your household, are displaying any of the symptoms of coronavirus, then you all have to self-isolate for the recommended length of time.
Limiting your exposure to coronavirus
Auto Trader adverts have helpful features that clarify to car buyers whether a car dealer offers live video viewing, home delivery options and COVID-19 safety measures in place.

You may also be able to arrange home delivery or collection services with dealerships, so contact the dealership for more details. Auto Trader will flag these features on all of our ads so you can see, at a glance, if it’s available for you.

It’s worth being aware that, in addition to your usual rights as a consumer when buying a vehicle, if you purchase a car (i.e. agree the contract of sale) online without visiting a dealership, you have the right to cancel your order for up to 14 days after your car is delivered. For more detail on consumer rights, visit Citizen’s Advice or the Money Advice Service.

If you’re concerned about using public transport at this time and considering a new car, you can use this time to research which one may be right for you.

Do not make any visits, or arrange to collect or sell your car, if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, or if you are in daily contact with anyone in a high-risk group.

If you’re not displaying any symptoms and have to leave the house, then you’ll need to limit your exposure to the virus by socially distancing.

FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve had so far. If you’ve got a question or concern, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Are car dealerships open near me?

Different rules apply in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland so check the relevant government websites for the situation where you are.

Currently, dealerships can re-open from the following dates:
• England – Monday, 12th April 2021
• Wales – Monday, 12th April 2021
• Scotland – Monday, 5th April 2021
• Northern Ireland – currently closed, next review due 15th April 2021.

We encourage everyone to contact dealerships remotely (dealership email and phone contact details are available in Auto Trader adverts) and arrange an appointment to help maintain social distancing and other measures in place.

Under the latest advice, you will have to wear a mask while at a dealership.

Can I buy a car right now?

Yes, you have several options when it comes to buying a car.

Dealerships are open and operating, so please book an appointment if you want to visit your local dealership and learn more about the measures they have in place for car buyers.

On Auto Trader, we’ve introduced new features to support responsible buying and selling, which include live video viewings and home delivery services where available. These are here to help get the most out of your research, and navigate safely online before you head to the forecourt.

Auto Trader now also includes ‘COVID-19 safety measures’ on all adverts listed on our site, so you can see what measure dealers are taking, and what features they’ve introduced.

If you feel uncomfortable about visiting a dealership, feel free to enquire about other car buying options, such as car collection orders or home delivery. Please check and follow Government guidance for your area and ask your preferred dealership if these options are available.

Some retailers may also provide an option to buy a car without visiting the dealer forecourt. If this is of interest, then look out for home delivery flags on Auto Trader adverts.

Can I still sell my car online?

Government guidance does not explicitly mention private car sales at this time, though we should all stay home unless necessary.

You can still list your old car on Auto Trader, and create and upload your ad in three steps. Our audience is the strongest it’s ever been, and we still host millions of prospective car buyers every week. You may therefore want to list your car now, so that you’re ready to complete the transaction and sell when restrictions lift.

Will new car deals be affected?

You may find that dealerships are offering cheaper deals on new cars. This is because the interest rate for most HP and PCP finance deals is affected by the Bank of England Base Rate, which is currently very low.

This does not mean the base rate will stay low, however, and a change will affect variable rate deals. It is essential you stress-test your finances and do not commit to a deal you may struggle to maintain payments on – especially in this time of economic and employment uncertainty.

You can get free, impartial advice on finances from the Money Advice Service and Citizen’s Advice.

Is home delivery available on cars?

Many dealerships are offering home delivery services. Auto Trader adverts now flag where home delivery is available, and other features such as live video viewings, so you can do more of your research from home.

If you have any concerns before sending a payment for a vehicle you haven’t seen in person, please contact our dedicated Customer Security Team for advice.

If you are self-isolating, please do not use these services and risk spreading coronavirus until the self-isolation for the whole household has passed and no-one is showing signs of infection.

Social distancing when buying a car

If you leave the house, please familiarise yourself with the NHS guidelines on social distancing.

Dealerships may have social distancing measures in place, we encourage you to contact them to find out what may be expected of you in advance - for example wearing a mask, bringing your own pen or using a dedicated entrance.

Regional lockdown rules

The guidance issued in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales varies so please follow the Government advice relevant to where you live. The following options are currently available to you:
England
Car dealerships are permitted to re-open from 12th April 2021. Home Delivery and Click and Collect are also available to car buyers.

For full guidance on what you can and cannot do during as lockdown lifts, please visit the Government website.
Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, Click and Collect orders from non-essential retailers can resume from 12th April 2021 (subject to change).

Under this lockdown, dealerships will remain closed for now. The next review of lockdown measures is due 15th April 2021.
Scotland
In Scotland, indoor showrooms were permitted to re-open from 5th April 2021.

Car buyers can also complete their purchase with a scheduled Click and Collect handover inside a dealership's showroom. This was previously prohibited, but measures have relaxed.

You can learn more about the Scottish Government’s advice and guidance to retailers for customer safety measures on their retail sector guidance page.
Wales
Car dealerships, and other non-essential retailers, can re-open from 12th April 2021.

You can learn more about what measures the Welsh Government are advising to retailers on their retail advice page.

Findingyour next car

Start off by researching online. You can use our best-ofs to find recommendations based on your lifestyle and read our expert reviews if you’re still torn between a couple of makes and models.

If you’ve been contemplating a switch to hybrid or electric cars, now’s a great time to read more into that and see if it’s right for you.

If you’re buying a brand-new car, you can even configure it yourself. Just note that, due to temporary factory closures, deliveries are expected to be delayed.

We've found a lot of people are browsing the Auto Trader app and shortlisting their favourites by saving them. This is a great way to see what’s on the market near you, and make an informed decision on your next car.
More information
For the latest Government advice in England, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

For NHS updates, please visit their dedicated coronavirus page.

For our advice to drivers, please visit this page.
This article represents Auto Trader’s opinions and interpretation of the current situation and does not necessarily reflect the latest government guidance and advice. Please always consult the latest government guidance and advice before taking any decision based on this article.