What a visit to the dealership looks like under lockdown

COVID-19 has changed the world, and car dealerships have not been excluded. Right now, visiting a dealership is only possible with an appointment.

COVID-19 has changed the world, and car dealerships have not been excluded. Right now, visiting a dealership is only possible with an appointment. The appointment can be made to have your car serviced and have a test drive, although it is encouraged that as much as possible be done remotely to ensure appropriate social distancing.

All dealerships in South Africa are operating under strict conditions specified by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition in a Government Gazette. Three specific phases have been detailed, and we’re currently in Phase One. This means remote car sales. Should you buy a car during this period, you also won’t be able to collect it from the dealership. Instead, it will be delivered to your home (in perfectly sanitised condition).

The regulations permit taking your car to the dealership for a service, but this must be done by appointment only to prevent unwanted queuing.


The Japanese brand has also confirmed that it will be opening its doors for business but has reminded customers that it will be following the government-imposed regulations. Here’s what the brand has had to say regarding its safety measures:

-Customers are required to make an appointment before visiting a dealership

-All staff and customers are to wear a cloth face mask

-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.

-Social distancing protocols will be maintained at all times



Subaru has also opened its doors to customers but has provided a list of regulations, some of which include:

-All staff and visitors will be required to undergo mandatory screening upon entry to all dealerships.

-Face masks are compulsory for all visitors and customers.

-All visitors and staff are required to sign a register for tracing purposes.

-No children are permitted access to dealerships.

-A 2-metre distance will always be maintained between all people.

-Entry to all dealerships will be strictly by appointment or emergency.



Suzuki has also opened its doors and has announced that its service plans have additional one-month leniency on the normal 21 day grace period for car services to keep your Suzuki warranty and service plan in check. Suzuki also has a long list of regulations, here are some that the brand has made mention of.

-Suzuki has created strict hygiene, health and safety guidelines that all dealerships must adhere to which include social distancing protocols and hygiene practices.

-Social contact is prohibited. No handshakes or contact-based greetings will be allowed.

-All vehicles will be sanitised between test drives or before delivery.

-Initially, only home delivery of vehicles will be allowed.



Volvo has provided an example of a scenario one may encounter when visiting a dealership. The Swedish brand claims that it will have its personal service technicians (PSTs) remotely diagnose your car and update its software using diagnostic Wi-Fi. This is aimed at establishing whether your car needs to enter the workshop or not – the system is capable of connecting to five cars at a time.

Standard procedures upon arrival

Once you and your car arrive, you may be offered a beverage in a single-use cup and a wrapped biscuit. Your car, meanwhile, will be sanitised immediately. All contact areas within the vehicle (steering wheel, indicator stalks, for instance) will be covered in plastic. Many brands are moving towards contactless customer interaction – so you won’t need to sign any documentation when dropping off your car.

Before you take delivery of the vehicle, it should be thoroughly sanitised. You should have already received all the relevant documentation digitally. And if you’re a Volvo customer, expect touch-free payment options on offer too.

What’s next?                                                  

Phase Two is expected to commence on 26 May and Phase Three commences on 8 June 2020. Trading conditions at all car dealerships will be eased then. We will bring you precise details of exactly what this means as we approach the respective dates.

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