Car retailers and manufacturers are being given three months’ free access to the What Car? New Car Buying platform as the business aims to offer a boost to businesses amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
Following on from Auto Trader’s announcement yesterday (March 19) that it would axe all advertising charges for April and delay repayment of its March fee for 30 days, in response to the impact of the outbreak, What Car? said its platform would be free from April until end of June.
Neither new or existing customers will be charged for their use of the platform during the period, it said.
Rachael Prasher, the managing director of What Car?’s parent company, Haymarket Automotive, said: “This is the right thing to do - for the industry and for us. I've heard it said a lot in the last few days but we are all in this together.”
What Car?’s offer also follows Peter Vardy’s offer of free installation and use of his end-to-end online car retail platform, SilverBullet, in a bid to make the sector’s businesses more resilient to the impact of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Peter Vardy, chief executive of the Peter Vardy Group, said: “We’re not trying to sell anything. We’re genuinely trying to help the sector out. For a lot of businesses there’s a sense that, if they are not able to transact online in the coming weeks and months, life will be extremely difficult for them.”
Prasher agreed that the automotive retail sector needed all the help it could get to thrive through the current “shock and turmoil” of the coronavirus outbreak.
She said: “A thriving car buying marketplace needs a thriving car industry and this is one immediate way we can work together to keep the pipeline of buyers stocked up, even if that pipeline is slower to convert than usual.
Prasher added: “Today the sense of shock and turmoil feels profound, but there is evidence that strong planning now can mitigate shock later.
“China is seeing tentative but encouraging signs of recovery after sales dramatically slowed at the start of the year, and we’re still seeing traffic and interest from consumers here.
“We all hope any disruption will be short-term and we intend to be available as part of the solution for automotive retailers and manufacturers.”