Top 10 reasons to re-open car showrooms

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Author: | Updated: 26 May 2020 10:20

New calculations have revealed that keeping UK car showrooms shut during the coronavirus pandemic costs the UK £61m a day through lost tax income and essential furlough funding.

That’s why the UK automotive industry is today calling on government to allow the country’s 4,900-strong network of new car showrooms to reopen as a matter of urgency. After all, showrooms, which are generally large spaces, lend themselves more readily to social distancing and manufacturers and retailers have been working hard to implement comprehensive measures to ensure the safety of customers and staff during every interaction.


The news comes as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has launched a new 10 reasons to #unlockukauto campaign, which sets out the benefits of allowing UK dealerships to reopen to kick-start the market, which declined by an eye-watering 97.3% in April.

Here are the 10 reasons to #unlockukauto

1. Safe spaces

Car showrooms are some of the easier retail premises to accommodate social distancing. They are generally spacious with outdoor areas, and can easily allow measures such as one-way walkways, shielding, and contactless transactions.

2. Retailers are ready

Dealers have been preparing to reopen for weeks, with many already offering ‘click and collect’. New cleaning and test-drive processes, appointment systems and showroom layouts will keep customers and staff safe, helping get Britain back on the move.

3. Supporting jobs

UK automotive retail employs 590,000 people, who together work to drive a sector worth £200 billion. Opening dealerships now will accelerate the market’s recovery, help return the sector to profitability more quickly and reduce the risk of redundancies.

4. Boosting the economy

Automotive retail, including aftersales, contributes an annual £36bn to the public purse, and with new car sales to private buyers alone generating £5.4bn in VAT and VED, getting the market re-started to stimulate consumer confidence will give the economy a vital cash injection at this critical time

5. Helping people back to work safely

Government is encouraging people who cannot do their jobs from home to return to work if they can, and, where possible, to travel by private transport if they cannot walk or cycle, to avoid overcrowding on buses and trains. For many, this makes access to a car more important than ever.

6. Reducing the burden on government

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has provided a lifeline to automotive businesses and their employees, safeguarding thousands of livelihoods. However, reopening showrooms will allow many to get back to work, saving the tax payer up to £41m a day.

7. Customer demand

Many people were unable to take delivery of new vehicles or shop around as their finance and lease deals came to an end before lockdown, and re-opening showrooms will allow this demand to be fulfilled. Further, research suggests that many drivers who don't own a car are now thinking about getting one to help them make essential journeys safely.

8. Accelerating fleet renewal

Allowing buyers to return to showrooms will speed up the replacement of older, more polluting vehicles with the latest, cleanest technology. With every new model to market emitting on average 8.3% less CO2 than those they replace, boosting fleet renewal will support a greener recovery for the UK.

9. Supporting UK manufacturing

Vehicle sales drive manufacturing and reopening markets – including the UK’s – is essential to boost productivity. British car manufacturing delivers £18.6bn to the economy every year, supports 168,000 highly skilled and well paid jobs across all regions, and, as our biggest exporter of goods, is critical to the UK’s international trade.

10. Technology and choice

There are more than 440 car models to choose from in the UK in shapes, sizes and fuel types to suit all driving needs, with almost a quarter (23%) alternatively fuelled. Re-opening showrooms will help people make the switch to these leaner, greener vehicles, while also benefitting from the latest cutting-edge safety and infotainment tech.

Is open?

Yes, we are an online lease comparison site. At we have core staff keeping the business running and working remotely. You can still research and compare deals online, without having to leave the house. Once you've selected your car and lease deal, you can apply for finance online and sign all paperwork electronically and arrange delivery to your door, or a ‘click and collect’, where possible.

For more information on car leasing during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

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