Buying a car has been a joyful experience, beginning from the test drives to exploring the features on different variants; negotiating with the dealers for various benefits before driving away your shiny new car in a grand ceremony. Post the Coronavirus Lockdown, things are set to change.
Earlier you could walk into a dealership of your choice and spend as much as time as possible exploring different cars but in the post COVID world, you are expected to book an appointment. Tata Motors issued a new set of guidelines to their vehicle dealers in which the staff at dealerships should now provide and seek exact timings for customer meetings and block appointments only after getting a confirmation. The staff are also been asked to use a Document Dropbox for documents like insurance, registration, etc, or email them to avoid any contact.
Customer entering showrooms will be checked for body temperature using an infrared thermometer. Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, and Toyota have instructed their dealer partners to conduct temperature screening for both staff and customers. In the case of recording a high body temperature before entering the outlet or a test drive car, the customer will be sent back for safety reasons.
As a part of post-COVID standard operating procedure set by these companies, customers not wearing masks will not be allowed inside the car showrooms.
Companies will follow a strict checklist with respect to regular sanitization of touch surfaces; maintaining hygiene and social distancing in customer interaction areas. Also, magazines, newspapers, and brochures will not be present.
Test Drive – Very Limited or None
A standard procedure post the lockdown, only one customer will be allowed to take a test drive along with the representative seated in the rear.
Maruti Suzuki has said that it will stop offering test drives completely and offer one only if a customer insists on it. The test drive cars will be sanitized before and after every drive.
Car Delivery – Now a sober experience!
The New Car is often delivered to a customer in a Grand Ceremony; cutting a cake and getting a family picture clicked with your ribbon clad car. Most Indian buyers also prefer to take delivery on auspicious days and the showrooms organize mass deliveries especially during the festive season. The dealers have been instructed to avoid delivery ceremonies and mass deliveries.
Maruti Suzuki has asked its dealers to discourage vehicle delivery ceremonies and encourage home delivery of cars, or ask customers to come alone for deliveries, and also complete the paperwork in advance to reduce the time spent at showrooms. Tata Motors has asked dealers to encourage customers to come with minimum family members during the delivery.
Buying a new car was truly an amazing experience, the new measures to ensure physical distancing to avoid the spread of the virus and home deliveries will take some time for customers to get used to.
Precautionary measures and safety protocols are important to restore faith in bringing customers back to car dealerships. But the companies are stressing on online sales and home delivery of cars.