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ASE, CarGurus and Codeweavers offer help for dealers hit by COVID-19 measures

More motor retail industry suppliers are pulling out the stops to help their dealer customers as the majority of the UK population is ordered to stay home while the coronavirus threat remains.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared that non-essential retailers, including car showrooms, should close to encourage staff and customers to remain at home. Workshops and car rental sites may remain open, however.

Codeweavers wants to help motor retailers get set up to enable their customers to buy and finance vehicles remotely, by giving them three months’ free use of its digital commerce tools.

Roland Schaack, chief executive of Codeweavers, said: “It's clear that face-to-face contact is going to be severely restricted for a long time to come and so it's going to be critical to be able to facilitate remote/online sales.”

Motor retailers will have access to its online Checkout and Remote Apply solutions for free.

Checkout lets the retailers’ customers buy vehicles from their own home, and even lets them add the retailer’s optional extras, apply for finance and arrange collection or delivery.

Remote Apply lets retailers generate a range of vehicle and finance offers to send to customers which they can then review, personalise and even apply for finance, wherever they are in the world.

Codeweavers will shortly add the ability for the customer to jump straight to the checkout from the email that the retailer sends out.

“It is vital that retailers have effective alternatives to generate new business. They need to be able to provide their customers with the ability to find, finance and take possession of their vehicle through their websites and other digital channels,” said a spokesman.

CarGurus has announced it will make a 50% rate cut on all dealers’ marketplace subscriptions in April automatically.

In a statement to investors, the US stock market listed car marketplace said: “While this period is unprecedented, we believe CarGurus is supporting one of the strongest segments of the automotive industry.”

It said it will continue to take actions “to help our dealer customers remain resilient through this period”.

At motor industry accountancy and consultancy ASE Global, chairman Mike Jones said there are no precedents for what the sector and the country is currently experiencing.

“We are all in unchartered territory and the level of concern about all businesses and about our collective staff responsibilities to one another are at their most sensitive and most difficult levels,” he added.

Its founder Trevor Jones had published advice for dealers last Friday, ahead of the UK Government’s latest steps which are forcing the temporary closure of car showrooms.

ASE said it will continue to monitor developments and advise dealers accordingly.

Mike Jones said: “This is an incredibly dynamic situation, but our expert industry team will react in real-time to best practice initiatives and stimulus packages authorities will implement to support business. Whilst the impact will be different for each business by creating a forum for best practice to be shared, we can quickly help businesses adapt and survive.”

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