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Buyacar completes £1.1m of car sales during coronavirus lockdown

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Buyacar has completed £1.1 million of used car sales and deliveries during the UK’s COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown - with just 42% going to key workers.

The online car retailer revealed in data published this week that it is currently delivering to key workers, tradespeople and those who can only support themselves, their family or vulnerable people by having a reliable vehicle. 

It said that “discretionary car purchases” – for customers who simply want a new car – had not been included in its post March 23 sales figures, however, as they are currently reserved for delivery when restrictions are lifted.

Andy Oldham, the chief executive of BuyaCar, said: “Although overall sales remain a fraction of normal levels we are proud to have provided vehicles worth more than £1 million to those who most need them, since the quarantine measures were introduced.

“We are also delighted to have saved key workers, such as NHS staff in the front line of the fight against coronavirus, more than £25,000 since March 29.

“As ever, we constantly review our operations to guarantee the safety of our staff and customers, and pledge to continue our support of essential drivers for as long as the lockdown continues.” said that its offer of national free contactless delivery and handover, plus a free two-year warranty, to key workers had proved particularly popular with hard-pressed health care staff and will continue until lockdown ends.

On March 29 it launched a special ‘key workers offer’ worth £698 to support NHS staff, emergency services professionals and other essential service providers on the government’s list of permitted travellers.

Earlier this month Vertu Motors chief executive, Robert Forrester, noted that the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) had calculated that there are 7.1 million key workers in the UK, representing 22% of the marketplace.

Buyacar said in today’s (April 23) statement that news of the unprecedented market share now taken by key workers is another measure of how dramatically COVID-19 coronavirus has changed the shape of motor retail.

AM reported on new National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) guidance which revealed that car sales completed away from the showroom were 'acceptable' under current Government lockdown legislation.

Although the its business is running at a fraction of normal sales volumes, Buyacar said that a skeleton team continues to maintain operations to sell, finance and deliver cars and vans to where they’re needed most.

BuyaCar identified four categories of customer as soon as movement restrictions began on March 23 and immediately suspended non-urgent deliveries, freeing the business to meet the needs of essential drivers only.

They identified ‘key workers’, tradespeople – such as plumbers or electricians – and ‘essential users’, who can only support themselves, their families or vulnerable people with a reliable vehicle. The final category was ‘discretionary’ buyers.

“The business has stabilised supply, which was originally threatened by the closure of many of its usual dealer partners, with the help of smaller dealers who continue to operate vehicle preparation workshops and service facilities”, it said.

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