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NFDA awaits ‘click and collect’ verdict for Welsh car retailers in lockdown

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The NFDA is awaiting confirmation from the Welsh Government as to whether the country’s car retailers will be able to provide ‘click and collect’ car sales when Wales return to a state of COVID-19 lockdown.

Wales’ first minister, Mark Drakeford, announced the decision to embark on a 17-day “fire break” lockdown period from October 23 in an effort to stem growing coronavirus infection rates.

Pubs, hotels, gyms, hairdressers and non-essential shops will have to close from Friday evening and will remain shut until November 9.

The move comes despite Wales having the lowest infection rate of any of the UK’s devolved regions.

While the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has said that car showrooms will once again be subject to the lockdown rules for retail, it is attempting to gain confirmation that car retailers in Wales will be able to continue to sell vehicles via ‘click and collect’ process on their forecourts.

During the full UK lockdown earliert tyjis year it took until early May to establish the stance of the UK Government on click and collect in car retail.

A spokesman told AM: “It’s clear that, once again, aftersales facilities will be able to remain open in a limited capacity, clarification over sales was being sought.

The NFDA added: “NFDA has written to Ken Skates MS, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, to request clarity about the legality of online purchases and ‘click & collect’. We will keep our members updated.”

Last week it was reported that that UK ministers had ignored advice from Sage for a country-wide circuit breaker to avoid “catastrophic consequences”.

Ministers in Wales indicated that they had acted in light of a paper from the technical advisory group (TAC) which predicted that up to 6,000 people could die in the region this winter if no action was taken.

Drakeford said: “There are no easy choices in front of us. We know that if we do not act now, it will continue to accelerate and there is a very real risk that our NHS would be overwhelmed.”

Car retailers in Wales have been critical of the Welsh Government’s more cautious approach to the COVID-19 outbreak in the past.

Ahead of their June 22 reopening from the UK’s full lockdown, Welsh car retailers made their frustrations clear when England’s car retail facilities were given the green light to open on June 1.

Eighteen dealerships wrote a joint letter to the First Minister expressing fears that many customers will cross borders to buy a new car.

“We truly believe you have underestimated the professionalism and commitment in the retail motor trade,” the letter said.

“The retail sector as a whole is facing its biggest challenge in living memory, these recent actions have further increased the considerable pressure we already face and put Welsh jobs at risk.”

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