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Tracker helps car dealers supervise unaccompanied test drivers

Mark Rose, managing director at Tracker

Tracker is helping dealers comply with new COVID-19 measures to protect themselves and the public while protecting stock driven on unaccompanied test drives.

The vehicle security and telematics specialist has launched a new range of "self-install devices" which enable dealers to see where vehicles are during the test drive and can raise an alert if they go outside a specified area.

If a vehicle is stolen, they can also help the police force's locate and recover efforts.

Mark Rose, managing director at Tracker, said: “The automotive industry is working through a challenge bigger than it has faced in decades, and no one knows for sure how long it will be before it fully recovers. In such difficult times, the industry must work together to support each other.

“We have launched our self-installed tracking devices with simple subscription terms including a free initial six-month subscription, so that dealers can protect stock on forecourts of any size, as soon as possible.”

Car thefts have increased 52% in the past six years and more than half of those without tracking devices in place are never recovered. Even with customer checks in place, unaccompanied test drives pose an increased risk unless vehicles are effectively protected.

The company said that its devices be hidden discretely within the car prior to each test drive or left in the vehicle permanently for added protection.

Following the announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that car showrooms in England could re-open from June 1 Vertu Motors chief executive Robert Forrester told BBC Breakfast how the car retail sector will “trust customers” to take unaccompanied test drives as retailing gets back underway.

Forrester outlined the changes that had been made to minimise customers’ risk of exposure to COVID-19 coronavirus in a showroom and during the wider car buying process during the interview and said that unaccompanied test drives would be one key area of change for car buyers at Vertu Motors sites across the UK.

Asked about the risks taken by the business in letting people drive away in a brand new car unaccompanied, Forester said: “When you actually go for a test drive you will be the only person in the car, which will be quite a major change for customers.

“There are some fairly obvious potential risks, but I think we trust the vast majority of customers to do the right thing, to do the right routes and come back.”

Rose said: “The new rules that have allowed dealerships to reopen are necessary to help all dealers operate safely, protecting all employees and customers from the risk of infection.

"The restrictions and requirements are a new challenge for any dealer to implement and enforce, and they do not need the added worry of potential loss of stock through unaccompanied test drives.

“As the industry works to get stock and cash moving once again, Tracker is helping to provide peace of mind that vehicle theft will not cause further loss of profits than have been seen due to the nationwide lockdown.”

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