Fleet operators and company car drivers can still access vehicle repair and maintenance services as most garages and workshops remain open during the Coronavirus lockdown.
The closure of all non-essentail retail sites was ordered by the Prime Minister on Monday (March 23) for a minimum of three weeks, prompting car dealers to close their showroom doors.
Workshops at many sites have remained open, to support the requirements of ‘key workers’ and vital fleet operations during the lockdown period.
Garages are included in the list of ‘exceptions’ in the retail sector which can stay open. These include supermarkets, health shops, pharmacies, petrol stations and car rentals.
The latest guidance aligns with the Government previous statement describing key workers in the transport sector as “those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.”
Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said: “Aftersales workshops and their technicians will play an important role in ensuring that critical vehicles can continue to operate safely and efficiently during these challenging times.”
TrustFord, part of the Ford Retail Group, is the UK’s largest Ford dealer group. It announced yesterday that it will continue to provide aftersales services with a “skeleton staff”, while its Part Plus business will also continue to operate.
Stuart Foulds, TrustFord’s chairman and chief executive, said: “We must play our own part in protecting the most vulnerable in our society and make sure that the NHS and front line services are able to function in the days and weeks ahead.”
Nissan dealer Chorley Group is keeping its workshops open and offering NHS staff a 50% discount on servicing and repair work.
The company’s sales director Adam Turner said: “We know how difficult it is for everyone at the moment, and we want to make life a bit easier for those people working to keep us and our families safe and well. “We are here for our customers, our team and our suppliers, too. Everyone is coming together and working hard to ensure we have 100% business continuity.”
Kwik Fit centres are also remaining open at this time, where possible. A statement on the company’s website says: “Where possible, our centres remain open as usual.
“Garages are identified as providing essential services required to keep the road transport network moving.
“Many of our customers, both individuals and organisations, including emergency workers, teachers and those providing vital community services rely on us to ensure their vehicles are road worthy and safe.”
Halfords has closed its retail stores but says Halfords Autocentres, McConechy’s, Tyres on the Drive and Halfords Mobile Expert will remain open to “support essential services within our communities”.
Recovery services, including The AA and the RAC, are also still operating as is parts supply from Euro Car Parts.