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Dealers rushing to provide unaccompanied test drives after latest official reopening guidance

Dealers rushing to provide unaccompanied test drives after latest official reopening guidance
Dealers are rushing  to provide an efficient means to facilitate unaccompanied test drives following the release of new reopening guidelines from the SMMT in collaboration with dealers and manufacturers, says AX.

With unaccompanied test drives now all but mandatory, dealer interest in offering a seamless and safe service is rising sharply says the provider of intelligent vehicle management and protection technologies.

As dealers transform their digital services, unaccompanied test drives – of new or used vehicles – are significantly easier and safer, particular when paired with paperless, digital systems.

Following the announcement on Sunday that lockdown measures will be eased, demand from buyers to access vehicles safely is expected to rise sharply over the next two weeks as the automotive retail sector reboots.

The subsequent industry guidance and best practice document produced by the SMMT, NFDA, dealers and manufacturers will further cement the need for dealers to provide a safe and efficient unaccompanied test drive service.

While dealer enquiries for efficient ways to provide test drives in the current environment have risen, retailers are also looking to maximise the insights they can glean – by using telematics – to enable salespeople to help buyers choose the right car for the customer.

Vince Powell, Managing Director of AX Innovation, said "As the sector reboots this week, there has been a step change in sentiment and the latest guidelines from key industry bodies brings some very welcome clarity for the sector. Demand for our paperless services is rising fast, and we know consumers are receptive to the idea of unaccompanied test drives. Dealers are realising they need to offer an efficient and safe test drive service rapidly.

"The issue is that there's a lot of paperwork, from insurance forms to DVLA checks and dealership form-filling, it is easier said than done. Throw in the fact that safety is the biggest concern for the industry, operationally it is quite tricky.

"But there are ways to make it much more straightforward and safer, with all the paperwork performed seamlessly on a customer's driveway and only requiring a digital signature."

By combining a multi-platform diary system, day-rate insurance and real-time DVLA licence checks with an electronic signature facility, customers can access more services and dealers can lessen the impact of operational restrictions as the process avoids physical contact.

As the economy opens again, vehicle dealerships have raised concerns about a small minority who might abuse the system to access vehicles without a salesperson present.​

"In our experience, abuse of unaccompanied test drives is relatively rare but not making the most of them is common. In some ways an unaccompanied test drive can offer a much richer opportunity to engage with a customer than if you were in the car with them. By using telematics, salespeople can gain powerful insights into how and where buyers drive – this can be extremely useful in helping them choose the right car," added Powell.  

For more information on AX Innovation services, including AX Manage software and day rate insurance, please visit: https://www.ax-uk.com/innovation

*Article Source performancecomms.com