Auto Trader has announced that it will resume charging car dealers for its online classified car adverts when COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted from showrooms from June 1.
The digital marketing supplier is set to offer a 25% discount during throughout June and extend its double stock offer until at least July 16 as retailers return to trading proper next month, it said in a statement issued this morning (May 27).
Auto Trader’s announcement of continued support for dealers comes more than two months after it revealed that it was set to suffer April losses of up to £7 million in a bid to help car retailers mitigate the impact of coronavirus as it axed fees and deferred March payments for 30 days.
March payment terms for all customers have been extended by a total of 60 days and packages will also remain free for all customers for the remainder of May.
But commenting on the return to charging – which follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that car showrooms could re-open from June 1 – Nathan Coe, Auto Trader’s chief executive officer, said: “This recent government announcement is an important step forward for the automotive industry.
“We will continue to support our customers, which is now about helping them to sell as many vehicles as possible, which is the focus of everyone at Auto Trader.
“We understand that returning to trading will be challenging for our retailer partners, but we are confident we can help given our scale and the unusually high levels of demand we are seeing on our platform.”
Auto Trader claimed that it has delivered over 400 million ad views and more than 750,000 leads to car retailers while free during the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown.
It said that it has also invested in a consumer marketing campaign to drive awareness that retailers are back and open for business and introduced a range of free online features to “help highlight the safety measures retailers have put in place to make the car buying experience safer”.
The early launch of Auto Trader’s ‘retail ready’ tools earlier this month was designed to help retailers articulate the COVID-19 safety measures they are putting into place, including home delivery, contactless collection and video vehicle tours.