“It is positive that the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Economy has confirmed to NFDA that all retailers including dealerships can currently open for ‘click & collect’, and added that retailers may open up to 800 m2 of their sales area in Phase 2”, said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK.
NFDA wrote to the Scottish Government on 13 and 27 May to outline automotive retailers’ views regarding plans for re-opening showrooms in Scotland.
Today, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Fiona Hyslop MSP, responded to NFDA Director Sue Robinson providing further clarification on the issue of dealerships reopening and the ability to offer click & collect services.
The letter states:
“Thank you for your correspondence of both 13 and 27 May in which you relay concerns expressed by NFDA members regarding plans for re-opening vehicle showrooms in Scotland. As Cabinet Secretary for Economy, I am responding. I hope that the information provided will offer clarity.
Firstly, please be assured I am very much aware of the significant impact that the pandemic is having on the automotive industry at this time. COVID-19 presents a significant risk to global and domestic economic activity, impacting across many sectors of the economy and we are working hard to support businesses across Scotland.
With respect to automotive retail, I can confirm that there are no regulations which prevent motor vehicles being distance sold and delivered in Scotland. It is only showrooms which must remain closed, as detailed in the Scottish Government guidelines. All retailers including dealerships may open for ‘click & collect’, providing collection does not involve entering the showroom. This has been the case throughout lockdown and many outlets have operated on that basis, including adaptation of parking areas to permit physical distancing across their whole site. Of course, any distance selling and delivery of motor vehicles must be undertaken while strictly adhering to physical distancing guidelines which can be found here.
On 21 May, the First Minister set out the steps and phases by which the Scottish Government will aim to ease current lockdown measures. As detailed in the route map published, our actions will be gradual and incremental and will be matched with careful monitoring of the virus. In addition to the route map, the Scottish Government published retail sectoral guidance on 26 May. We have worked with employers and trade unions to ensure that this guidance is evidence-based, fair and ethical, clear and realistic.
This guidance states that retailers may open up to 800 m2 of their sales area, permitting some larger retail outlets such as car showrooms to re-open in Phase 2. Retail units larger than 800 m2 will be permitted to open in Phase 3. Each business will need to translate this guidance into the specific actions it needs to take depending on the nature of their business (i.e. the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated). Our guidance has been designed to be applied to cover the spectrum of different retailers in Scotland and we have prepared an operational guide for retailers which includes a downloadable checklist with actions to consider.
As you can appreciate, this is a rapidly evolving situation and our guidance will be updated and reviewed every three weeks in line with the Scottish Government's lockdown review”.
About the RMI
The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.