New rules for buying or selling cars during lockdown

The Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition has released directions regarding the sale of cars and emergency automobile repairs under national COVID-19 alert level 4.

The new directions require all car dealerships and used car outlets to prepare for reopening operations in line with COVID-19 risk mitigation measures.

This preparation must include health and safety measures like sanitisation procedures at all sites, maintaining social distancing, and ensuring all staff and customers wear a cloth face mask.

No employee who is sick or who has COVID-19 symptoms may work. There must also be regular screening of all employees when they arrive for work.

All visitors and customers are required to sign a register when visiting a dealership. No children are allowed to enter a dealership or used car outlet under alert level 4.

The directions allow the following trading activities during alert level 4:

  • Trade of new and used cars
  • Wholesale trade of new and used cars by OEMs and importers
  • Export and import of all category of cars through national ports of entry under strict guidelines
  • Trade-in purchases, car lease scheme returns, and wholesale trading of used cars.

The Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition outlined strict rules under which dealerships and used car outlets can start to operate.

Opening the industry will happen in three phases.

Phase One

The first phase has the following rules:

  • All dealerships and used car outlets will operate with up to 30% of employment. This is subject to a maximum of one employee or customer per every nine square metres of floor space.
  • It is also provided that small businesses may operate with a minimum of five employees.
  • The majority of car sales should be done remotely via the Internet, ecommerce, or telephone.
  • Personal contact should be kept to a minimum and only on appointment under very strict hygiene and social distancing conditions.
  • Test drives should be conducted on appointment only.
  • Home delivery of vehicles with full sanitisation will be mandatory.
  • Where possible, electronic or virtual signatures should be used for finance and insurance documentation.
  • Car auctions for all categories should be conducted online in compliance with the CPA Regulations.

Phase Two

The second phase of buying and selling cars has the following rules:

  • All dealerships and used car outlets will operate with up to 60% of employment.
  • Limited customers will be allowed to enter the dealership under very strict hygiene and social distancing conditions.
  • Remote vehicle sales should continue for those potential customers with access to online services.
  • Test drives can be arranged on-site by appointment only, and under very strict hygiene conditions including fully sanitised cars.
  • On-site pick-ups and deliveries of fully sanitised cars will be allowed under strict hygiene conditions with an option of home delivery of fully sanitised cars, if possible.
  • Car auctions for all categories will be conducted online in compliance with the CPA Regulations and limited physical contact will be allowed for viewing prior to the auction under very strict hygiene conditions including fully sanitised cars.

Phase Three

The third phase of buying and selling cars, which is from 8 June 2020 until alert level 4 is lifted, has the following rules:

  • All dealerships and used car outlets will operate with up to 100% of employment.
  • Customer on-site contact will be allowed but kept to a minimum, whilst remote vehicle sales are encouraged.
  • Test drives can be arranged on-site by appointment only, and under very strict hygiene conditions including fully sanitised cars.
  • On-site pick-ups and deliveries of fully sanitised cars will be allowed under strict hygiene conditions with an option of home delivery of fully sanitised cars if possible.
  • Car auctions for all categories should be conducted online in compliance with the CPA Regulations.
  • Limited physical contact will be allowed for viewing prior to the auction under very strict hygiene conditions including fully sanitised cars.
  • There must be limits on the numbers of persons at the auctions to maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres between persons at all times, including when entering or exiting from an auction.

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New rules for buying or selling cars during lockdown