COVID-19: What coronavirus means for car buyers in 2021

Georgia Petrie

Written by

Georgia Petrie

Volkswagen Scirocco on road
  • Showrooms reopening in England, Scotland, Wales and NI
  • Most dealers will operate an appointment only system for showroom visits
  • Click and Collect will continue

Our dealer partners are working hard to make sure you can still get hold of your perfect set of wheels, whatever the current COVID-19 restrictions are in your local area. It goes without saying that your safety, as well as the safety of our dealer partners and employees is our number one priority, so please make sure you’re following the latest Government advice for your local area.

When will car showrooms reopen?

England: At the time of writing (7 April), car showrooms are shut across the UK. However, all non-essential retail will reopen in England on 12 April — meaning you can go look at a car in the metal again very soon. How exciting.

Car dealerships have been closed for the entire third lockdown for walk-in customers and test drives, operating via Click and Collect only. However, from Monday 12 April, they will revert back to reopening under the rules they operated under for most of 2020.

Scotland: The Stay at Home regulations were lifted on 2 April and replaced with guidance to Stay Local, with non-essential Click and Collect services able to open from 5 April. From 26 April, car showrooms should be open to the public — but they'll have to ensure they're following COVID-19 guidelines, which will look similar to the restrictions in England.

Wales: From 12 April, non-essential retail can reopen and people will be able to travel in and out of Wales from this date. 

Northern Ireland: From 12 April, Click and Collect will be available for all non-essential retail businesses, including car dealers (we presume).

Are car showrooms safe to visit?

Just as with supermarkets, there will be rules around public spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These rules will allow customers to go into a dealership and view a car, take a test drive, make a deposit etc. But things won't be totally back to normal as the UK continues to ease out of the lockdown. 

Test drives are likely to be unaccompanied and carried out by customers on their own. Social distancing measures will also be reintroduced to keep both staff and customers safe. These include in-store signage, floor stickers, desk screens and hand sanitiser stations.

There will likely be a limit on how many people can enter a showroom at any one time. You will also be asked to wear a face mask and gloves if you want to enter one of the demonstration cars. We're also expecting most dealers to run on an appointment system to keep the number of people onsite low, so beware that you might need to book beforehand rather than just turn up.

Will Click and Collect and Home Delivery continue? 

Yes, it appears that buying a car remotely is here to stay. Even after COVID-19 ends, you'll still be able to buy a car via Click and Collect.

In England, Wales and Scotland you can still buy from many of our dealers with home delivery or COVID-secure collection, too. In Northern Ireland, collection isn’t currently allowed under COVID-19 restrictions, but delivery is. Click and Collect should resume in Northern Ireland on 12 April.

What is Click and Collect exactly?

Depending on local area restrictions, some dealerships are offering Click and Collect car buying. This means you buy the car remotely (either online or over the phone) and then can collect the car outside of the dealership with a COVID secure handover - including sanitation of the car. If you’d like to do this, let the dealer know when you speak to them.

Will a dealer deliver a car to my home? 

Many of our trusted dealers are currently offering home delivery of cars. This means you buy the car remotely (either online or over the phone) and then the dealer will arrange delivery, with a COVID secure handover. If you’re interested in doing this, let the dealer know when you speak to them.

What are video viewings?

Many dealers are offering video tours. To request this, just let the dealer know when you contact them. Even more of our listings now already have videos included, too - you can simply filter by ‘Listings with videos’.

I have more COVID-19 car buying questions...

As always if you have any other questions, get in touch - you can email us, message us on Live Chat or give us a call during our opening hours on 020 3868 4949.

For more coronavirus car buying advice click here.