‘More than 60%’ of garages closed in pandemic lockdown, survey shows
A survey of 510 suppliers, motor factors and garages has shown that more than 60 per cent of garages in the UK have closed their doors during the coronavirus pandemic. While these UK closures seem a high estimate at first glance, many that said they have temporarily closed are still offering emergency work to customers and key workers. The survey, which was conducted to highlight the current state of the automotive aftermarket as it responds to unprecedented challenges, was carried out by automotive aftermarket PR and marketing agency Impression.
The survey found the main reasons for garages closing were a significant drop in business caused by social distancing measures and the decision to extend the MOT from 30 March by six months. Other respondents noted practical reasons such as childcare and the inability to source parts as motor factors had also closed.
The number of motor factors closing was smaller, currently 25 percent. Whether open or partially open, motor factors were running at 50 percent and below capacity. Interestingly, the motor factors that had initially closed had done so because of pressure from the public.
On to suppliers and manufacturer businesses, 67 percent were open, 8 percent closed and 25 percent partially open.
Demand for product had reduced dramatically, in some cases by up to 85 percent. Business support, product and sales training were key for suppliers during this time, the survey revealed.
Garages’ awareness of support
On the question of what business support they were aware of during this time, 88 percent of garages had heard of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furloughing).
When asked what type of online training they would like to take part in, 73 percent of garages were interested in electric and hybrid training. This was followed by an interest in product training.
Mark Field, Impression director, said: “It’s important to see where we are as an industry and it’s clear that the MOT extension has had severe repercussions throughout the supply chain. Close communication is key as the market is changing on an almost daily basis with businesses reopening and garages receiving much needed support in the way of grants. We also seeing many acts of inspiration, innovation and overall kindness, which will define our industry for generations to come.”
Impression Communications is holding “Crisis communication surgeries” for companies during the Covid-19 outbreak. The surgeries are open daily, including weekends. Those interested simply need to post a question on any of Impression’s social media feeds below or contact Mark Field on email. The PR agency is also sharing best practice for businesses operating in the automotive aftermarket via its social media platforms.