Auto Trader cars

Skip to contentSkip to footer

Social distancing at open dealerships

With car dealerships re-opening in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, we look at how they’re observing social distancing and helping you buy your next car in confidence.

UK car dealerships can remain open. Under the latest Government guidelines, issued in November 2021, masks are required in retail settings. Further measures have been introduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Please confirm the rules and any exemptions to mask wearing with your local authority before visiting a dealership. To make an appointment, simply contact the dealership via the Auto Trader advert. Many dealerships are continuing to take steps, including risk assessments and adjustments to their worksite and workforce, to ensure the safety of colleagues and car buyers alike. The specific steps taken may vary, we’d recommend contacting your preferred dealership to confirm what they are doing and what may be expected of you. Many dealers are specifying any COVID-secure measures in their adverts on Auto Trader. It’s important you feel comfortable when buying a car, which is why adverts on Auto Trader highlight the measures the dealerships are taking for you. These currently include: • COVID-19 safety measures • Live video viewings • Home delivery or Click & Collect You can learn more about those features here.

What guidance has been issued to dealerships?

The specific guidance issued in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales varies, so please follow the Government advice relevant to where you live.
Further to this, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd. (SMMT) and National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) have previously issued complementary, sector-specific guidelines and best practice on how dealerships can actively work towards keeping people safe. This advice has been distributed to SMMT and NFDA members, and an updated version is available to read here. As this is an evolving situation, advice issued should not be seen as exhaustive or comprehensive. It is, however, regularly updated, and many dealerships are working flat out to ensure they’re meeting the latest best practice to keep car buyers as safe as they can.

Some of the measures suggested to dealerships include:

• Working by appointment only to ensure the number of people in the showroom at any one time is limited. You can make an appointment through the Auto Trader advert; just use the call, email or live chat buttons. Some dealerships may work extended hours to make more appointments available.
• Introducing a two-metre social distancing gap between customers and dealership team members; and potentially entering and leaving a dealership by a one-way system. • Regularly sanitising all facilities and surfaces, including entry points and service areas. Dealerships are encouraged to maximise their online presence, and Auto Trader is working closely with them to ensure you, as a prospective car buyer, are getting the best online experience. Many dealers have taken advantage of the new COVID-19 safety measures feature on Auto Trader adverts to showcase the steps they are taking – so check this out and get in touch with the dealer for more information.

What can car buyers do to stay safe?

We encourage everyone to follow the NHS guidelines on COVID-19 (coronavirus).
Ahead of booking a visit to a dealership, make the most of the online experience by: • Researching your next car – you could compare expert reviews or create a shortlist in your Auto Trader favourites. • Where possible, arranging a live video viewing of the vehicle to see it in advance. • Contacting the dealer ahead of time with any questions – you can use the extra time to properly research car finance options and double-check the latest listings on site. • Booking an appointment in advance. • Taking sensible steps, such as bringing your own pen, if you feel uncomfortable using those provided. Remember, you must self-isolate if you, or any of your household, show symptoms of COVID-19.

Do I need to book an appointment at a car dealership?

Booking an appointment ahead of time can help the dealership manage demand and ensure you’re promptly seen to. They can also check in with you about any safety measures they may have in place.
It’s a bit like booking at table at a restaurant you know you want to go to – save the hassle and avoid disappointment by booking ahead.

Home delivery and customer collection

Many dealerships are now providing car buyers with additional options which they are able to highlight to buyers on Auto Trader: you can arrange home delivery or customer collection where these services are available from dealers.
Dealerships can now flag when home delivery is available in your area, so keep an eye out for that icon on the advert. If in doubt, just contact them directly as they may be able to make arrangements. With customer collection, you can buy a car online or over the phone and collect it from the dealer. Again, please check whether they have the infrastructure to safely and responsibly support this transaction. As with showroom and forecourt visits, best practice and guidance have been issued on offering these services. You can check what measures a dealership is taking on their Auto Trader advert, or by contacting them directly.
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.

Search Auto Trader for...

New carsUsed cars

Other articles related to Homepage Features

Related Topics