In terms of its contribution to the UK economy, the wholesale, retail, maintenance and repair elements of the automotive industry are worth around £36 billion a year (SMMT figure) and could serve as a kick-starter for the wider economy. Ford’s dealer network accommodates roughly 1.2 million customer visits in a “normal” year – many of these will now be carried out virtually but the dealerships and showrooms are now open for business.
Ready for customers visiting from Monday, dealers will also adopt an eight-step “care code” which includes the reconfiguration of showroom layouts to enable social distancing, providing hand sanitiser on entry, conducting no-touch vehicle demonstrations and payment methods and facilitating unaccompanied test drives for customers.
Employees will also be required to carry out health tests before leaving home each day, with reusable thermometers and sanitiser care kits issued by Ford. Face masks will be worn at all times and thorough deep cleans will be conducted on a daily basis.
Ford has continued to conduct permitted dealer activities throughout lockdown, such as services and repairs of essential vehicles. Moreover, all of Ford’s European plants are now back at work, including the Dagenham and Bridgend Engine Plants since 18th May.