How independent dealers are helping Britain’s essential workers
Forced by the coronavirus crisis to close their showrooms, many determined car dealers are still working behind the scenes to keep NHS and other key workers moving.
As most of Britain’s major dealer groups began closing to the public a sudden drop in car availability threatened to cut off supply to critical workers in essential fields, who urgently need to change their car.
Now the online car marketplace BuyaCar.co.uk has revealed that more independent dealers are stepping up to keep car supply flowing for those who need them most.
BuyaCar.co.uk, which has continued working through the crisis exclusively to deliver essential replacement cars to key workers, has reported a tripling of stock available in the past three weeks as more independent dealers step up to help.
It’s good news for key workers because as well as offering free delivery, contactless handover and a free two-year warranty with any ‘key worker sale’, BuyaCar.co.uk is increasing supply even as social confinement brings the car sales industry to a halt.
With all showrooms closed, more independent dealers than ever are offering their existing stocks through the BuyaCar.co.uk website, preparing them to retail standard ready for delivery where they are needed most. This unique trade-to-trade relationship enables them to help customers nationally as well as in their own local area.
One example is the popular Norfolk car supermarket, Stebbings Car Superstore, where operations director Richard Brown was determined that closing the showroom door would not mean an entire stock of over 400 cars gathering dust until further notice. So a small skeleton crew behind the scenes has prepared 4 of the cars delivered by BuyaCar to key worker customers in the first two weeks of April.
Richard Brown said: “We are talking very small numbers of sales compared with what we’re used to at Stebbings. But it feels good to be able to contribute to the fight against coronavirus and know that some of our cars at least are going to customers in the frontline of essential services.”
Another 250 cars have been added to the BuyaCar marketplace via long-established independent MJA Car Sales, whose three showrooms in Guildford, Sunbury and Walton are currently closed to the public.
MJA Car Sales has already helped a community care worker and a critical care nurse stay mobile, since learning of BuyaCar’s campaign to help key workers. But until the government gives the green light on resuming normal trade, owner Mike Garrett is declining all sales enquiries except for key workers.
He said: “Though we are closed for car sales, after 40 years in business we are a responsible part of the wider community and we see our role at the moment as providing a service to help essential workers only. For example, a critical care nurse and a community care worker recently needed urgent maintenance on their cars and our aftersales manager got them both back on the road as quickly as possible.
“While there is no profit in our business during this period we are glad to be able to help those people who are helping everyone else.”
Andy Oldham, chief executive of BuyaCar.co.uk, said: “The coronavirus crisis has shone a light on the public spirit of many independent dealers who are helping key workers in their local communities and enabling us to do the same across the country.
“When major dealers closed, to comply with social confinement measures, it became a real challenge to continue our mission to help key workers in the NHS and other essential services. But, behind the scenes, independent dealers have really stepped up to support us as well as their own local communities.
“We are grateful to them for sharing our determination to do whatever we can to help keep the wheels turning for those essential workers we rely on so much during this crisis.”