Motoring

New and Used car dealerships can operate under these laws

Some good news for the struggling South African automotive industry, dealerships can now buy and sell vehicles.

Some good news for the struggling South African automotive industry, dealerships can now buy and sell vehicles. This comes in the wake of dismal April sales figures which saw only 574 vehicles being sold. While South Africa remains in lockdown level 4, strict rules still apply.

‚ÄúThis directive is undoubtedly good news for motorists and the motor industry alike. Based on an AutoTrader survey, the financial well-being of a whopping 65% of vehicle-buying consumers in South Africa has been negatively impacted by the nationwide lockdown. Many (30% to be precise) are under pressure to replace their vehicle within the next four weeks. This is being reflected in a massive increase in online searches. The highest number of car searches in the Level 4 period was recorded on 10 May; we recorded over 1,3 million searches on that day alone. In the last two weeks, enquiries to car dealers have risen by an astounding 69%. It is clear that motorists are desperate for the motor industry to open its doors. Those South Africans under pressure to sell their car or trade down will be celebrating tonight! Dealers, on the other hand, are under pressure to survive. Thus, this directive is the best of both worlds.” George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO

The following trading activities on vehicles will be permitted during Alert Level 4:

  • Trade in both new and used cars;
  • Wholesale trade of new and used cars by OEMs and importers;
  • Export and import of all category of cars through national ports of entry under strict guidelines;
  • Trade-in purchases, car lease scheme returns and wholesale trading of used cars.

As mentioned, there are however procedures in place to ensure the safety of all those involved

During the first phase from 13 May to 23 May 2020, the following conditions will be observed:

  • All dealerships and used car outlets will operate with up to 30% of employment subject to a maximum of one employee or customer per every nine [9] square metres of floor space [provided that small businesses may operate with a minimum of five employees];
  • The majority of car sales will be done remotely via the internet or eCommerce or telephone. Personal contact will be kept to a minimum and only on appointment under very strict hygiene and social distancing conditions in line with the Regulations;
  • Test drives will be conducted on appointment only;
  • Home delivery of vehicles with full sanitisation will be mandatory;
  • Where possible, electronic, or virtual signatures will be used for finance and insurance documentation.
  • Car auctions for all categories will be conducted online in compliance with the CPA Regulations.

In Phase Two: From 25 May to 06 June 2020, the following conditions will be observed

  • All dealerships and used car outlets will operate with up to 60% of employment.
  • Limited customers will be allowed to enter the dealership under very strict hygiene and social distancing conditions in line with the Regulations.
  • Remote vehicle sales will continue for those potential customers with access to online services.
  • Test drives can be arranged on-site by appointment only, and under very strict hygiene conditions including fully sanitised cars.
  • On-site pick-ups and deliveries of fully sanitised cars will be allowed under strict hygiene conditions with an option of home delivery of fully sanitised cars, if possible.
  • Car auctions for all categories will be conducted online in compliance with the CPA Regulations and limited physical contact will be allowed for viewing prior to the auction under very strict hygiene conditions including fully sanitised cars.

It is also advised that all dealerships and used car outlets will ensure limited teams of employees and contractors to access the dealerships to prepare for the start-up in line with COVID-19 risk mitigation measures. Sanitisation procedures at all sites will be strictly applied to ensure that all work surfaces, equipment, and cars on the floor are disinfected before the dealership is opened, and regularly cleaned during the working period. It is also advised that dealerships and used car dealerships shall act incompliance with risk-adjusted measures for occupational health and safety as a prerequisite for operation.

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