The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has received confirmation that car buyers in Scotland can now complete their purchase with a scheduled click and collect handover inside a dealership's showroom.
A letter from the Scottish Government, received by the NFDA today (February 23), revealed that amendments to the current operation of click and collect for dealerships North of the border mean that accessing the showroom to conclude the purchasing of the vehicle would be permissible using an appointment system.
News of the change of policy comes ahead of a lunch time announcement from Scottish First Minister, Nicola Surgeon, which car retailers hope will outlines Scotland’s route out of lockdown following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address yesterday.
Responding to the news that click and collect can now proceed in AScotland, NFDA chief executive Sue Robinson said: “Following our requests, it is extremely positive that the Scottish Government has confirmed that amendments to the current operation of click & collect for dealerships in Scotland mean that accessing the showroom to conclude the purchasing of the vehicle would be permissible using an appointment system.
“We thank the Minister for considering our suggestions and enabling dealers to better serve their customers.
“Our members continue to work incredibly hard to follow COVID-secure guidelines and ensure that staff and customers are kept safe”.
The letter received by the NFDA today came from the Scottish Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn MSP.
It stated that “accessing the showroom to conclude the purchasing of the vehicle would be permissible at this time using an appointment system to manage customer numbers to as few in the showroom at any given time - ideally only one customer at a time - and with the usual caveat that face coverings should be worn and physical distancing maintained”.
The Minister added: “As much of the purchase as possible should be completed online or by phone to ensure as little time as possible is spent in the showroom.
“What is not permissible is for potential customers to come into the showroom to browse and to stay for any longer than is absolutely necessary to complete the purchase.”
The letter also highlighted that the “stay at home" messaging, means that for the moment “people should only legitimately be leaving their homes for an essential reason which will ensure that they, their homes and occupants and their means of transportation can be maintained in a safe, secure way”.
Additionally, in response to NFDA’s initial indications, the Minister said the issue of “unaccompanied test drives to be allowed as part of the purchasing process has merit”, adding that officials will be asked to “give this proposition serious consideration”.
Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) chairman, Sandy Burgess, told AM this morning that he was "pessimistically optimistic" that the Scottish Government would pave the way to a full reopening of car showrooms in an announcement thjis lunch time.
Burgess said that the SMTA had been lobbying hard for a reopening, which is now expected to take place on April 12 for car retailers in England.
However, he said: "I fully expect it to happen on a different date to that in England, because that's what the Scottish Government do."