The pandemic that is COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on countless Australian businesses and worst still, claiming the lives of countless more. As a result, state governments have slowly but surely started the process of shutting down non-essential services such as pubs, restaurants, gyms etc. However, there is one group in particular who say they are an essential service and are committed in keeping their doors open during the crisis.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has advised that automotive brands and dealer networks will remain open to provide customers with sales and service support. This decision seems to stem from the understanding that more and more Australians are shifting to private car usage rather than public transportation, hence the need to keep dealership doors open.
The Australian Automotive Dealers Association (AADA), which represents almost 56,000 employees across thousands of showrooms nationally have been lobbying the various state governments, hard. “The operation of motor vehicle dealerships, their service and repair centres and key supply chain facilities play a critical part in supplying essential services to the community” said Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI.
“With the increasing focus on social distancing, safe and reliable private transport is essential to enable communities and businesses to continue to operate. At the same time, the automotive industry rates the preservation of the health and safety of our employees, dealer network and customers as our number one priority. To this end, the industry is focused on ensuring that best practice is adopted throughout our Australian offices and dealer retail and service outlets.
“The industry has considered and adopted a number of additional hygiene and safety protocols, including extended cleaning processes, personal distancing, and contactless sales and service consultations – all with the number one priority of ensuring the safety and security of our communities.
“It is largely business as usual” Mr Weber concluded. But why, you might be wondering? Why would dealers keep their doors open at such critical times? In a word, sales. March, historically speaking, is one of the best months in the year for car sales as it is also the lead up to the end of the Japanese financial year. April on the other hand is one of the weakest months of the year for car sales.
According to a report, some lending institutions are even offering dealers lower interest rates or reduced fees while other car manufacturers are allowing their dealer networks to order stock and parts on an ad hoc basis rather than committing to buying bulk.
The other argument made to keep shutters open pertains to maintaining road safety. The Takata airbag recall is still very much on the table and dealerships are required to complete the recall process by the 31st of December 2020.
Watch this space for more updates. For the best deal on your next brand-new car, please visit our Showroom.