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Second wave plan

 Car, van and motorcycle dealers “must have a second wave plan” to deal with the prospect of a major re-emergence of coronavirus later this year, warns iVendi.

James Tew, CEO said that the possibility of further peaks occurring was very real, and that businesses needed to think ahead in terms of how they might operate under a renewed lockdown.

“At the moment, dealers are understandably working very hard to get their businesses moving again after the events of the last few months but we’ve all seen the warnings from experts of the likelihood of a second wave, something that is perhaps already happening in countries like South Korea and Iran.

“Of course, the hope is that this does not happen in the UK but many clearly believe that it will and, given that very real possibility, it seems sensible that businesses have some kind of idea about how they might handle a further lockdown.

“This is difficult, of course, because we don’t know what any second wave might look like but there are a variety of scenarios that could emerge and it makes sense for managers to run through what they might do in each. To us, preparation seems important – it may even be that we have a number of waves over the next few years.

“Clearly, there was little the industry could do in response to the first wave of coronavirus – it took us very much by surprise – but there are few excuses for not being more cognisant of any future occurrences.”

James added that one of the ideas expressed by the government was that future lockdowns would probably occur only on a localised basis where the transmission rate for the disease was known to be high.

“The central question dealers probably need to answer is, ‘how would we keep trading as effectively as possible in this variety of circumstances?’

“This government’s local strategy could present difficult problems to solve. Across a dealer group, you might find that some of your showrooms can stay open but not others, and you could potentially switch business to other areas.

“However, if you are a single site business in the middle of a lockdown area, life is going to be more difficult and it could mean considering solutions including online tools such as vehicle reservation and end-to-end online finance solutions that generate leads and applications, taking consumers out of market even while your physical showroom may be closed.

“Certainly, we would advise all dealers as a minimum to ensure that they now have a click and collect option in place as this seems to us to be the model that provides the most complete yet cost effective solution to different forms of restricted trading.

“From an iVendi point of view, we are having speculative but important conversations covering these kinds of subjects both internally with our team and externally with our dealer customers. The motor industry has shown a high degree of resilience and adaptability in response to the coronavirus crisis so far. It is very possible that it may need to show more of those qualities to face further peaks of the disease.”

 

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