Dealerships close in EuropeMarch 16, 2020
Dealers across Europe are closing down their showrooms as governments are decisively trying to restrict their citizens’ movements and shut down all non-essential businesses in an attempt to curb the outbreak of coronavirus.
In most cases, maintenance and repair operations, as well as the sale of spare parts, will be permitted. Services are considered necessary to ensure the safety of vehicles on the road.
Bernard Leek, Director of CECRA European Dealer Association, said: “Closures will have a big impact on the profitability of our companies, but first they must respect the actions of their governments and hygiene measures.”
In the first two weeks of March, the number of registrations decreased by a third and amounted to less than 27,000 units compared to the same period in 2019, and the pace of decline is accelerating: the first week reduced sales by almost 15%, and the second week approached 50%. On Friday, March 13th, less than 500 new cars were registered, which is 90% less than on Friday, February 14th.
First of all, dealerships in Italy, the epicenter of the viral outbreak in Europe, were affected. The country’s largest dealer group, Autotorino, announced last week that it will close exhibition halls for the first time in its 55-year history.
On Monday, the national dealer association, Federauto, advised its members to follow government guidelines that allow repairs, maintenance, and related activities, such as selling parts.
French Automobile Association CNPA said Monday that sales are prohibited, with the exception of shipments. According to representatives of the group, repair services and the sale of spare parts will continue.
Faconauto, a Spanish dealer group, recommended that its members close trade and repair activities for 15 days. The Belgian Dealers Association, Traxio, said that according to its interpretation of government regulations issued on Friday, dealers are not allowed to open their showrooms on weekends, but repairs and the sale of parts were allowed.
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