■ The Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have affected the way you can buy a car: here’s everything you need to know
SINCE the coronavirus lockdown measures were introduced in late March, new car sales have slowed dramatically in the UK, with new registrations for the month falling by over 44 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.
This substantial drop in sales is partly due to the closure of dealerships. New cars are still being sold, however, with many manufacturers now offering the option of buying online. Some are even hosting video tours of cars and interactive live streams so that customers can ask questions before they buy.
Read on to find out what your options are if you need to buy a car.
Buying a car online during the coronavirus lockdown
With car dealerships forced to close due to the lockdown measures, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has officially confirmed that dealers can continue to sell cars online as long as social distancing rules are followed during the delivery and handover of vehicles.
Additionally, there are several specialist online retailers, including Carbuyer’s sister site, BuyaCar. On these sites you can browse through thousands of cars for sale and apply for finance or make the purchase outright before having the car delivered to your home.
UK car manufacturers are still taking orders for new cars online as well. It’s worth remembering that nearly all car makers suspended production during the Covid-19 pandemic, so delivery times for a new car are likely to be longer than usual.
A number of manufacturers including Tesla, Peugeot and Vauxhall already have online or smartphone app sales platforms, allowing you to complete the buying and ordering process without leaving your home.
Ford is offering a six-month payment holiday to all customers who order a new car in April or May, along with home delivery.
Viewing a car online
Travelling to view a car in person is not a viable option for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, most dealers offer the next best thing with a virtual tour of any prospective purchase. This means that you should be able to view detailed images, specification data, information on new and used prices, and finance estimates directly on the dealer’s website or via an online car-buying platform.
Plenty of dealers also offer videos showcasing cars they have for sale, which will often be accompanied by commentary explaining features and specifications. Selected SEAT and Skoda dealers are now offering a video live stream service to prospective buyers, answering questions about the cars and providing advice.
Can I still buy a used car privately during lockdown?
The current lockdown restrictions in place throughout the UK have had a direct impact on buying a used car privately. While thousands of used cars continue to be advertised online, going to view or buy a car from another person’s private address is not classed as essential travel under the current restrictions. Collecting a car is likely to break both travel and social distancing rules by putting you into close contact with a person outside of your household.
For more information for how the Covid-19 outbreak affects drivers and car buyers, read our full guide here.