The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition has today (12 May) published a Government Gazette, which details precise directions regarding the sale of cars and emergency automobile repairs during alert Level 4 of the Covid-19 National State of Disaster.
The directions, effective immediately, allow the motor industry to start selling vehicles once again.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel announced last night that certain trading activities on vehicles will be permitted during Alert Level 4. The newly published directives comes at the back of the amended regulations issued on Wednesday, April 29 where the country started to gear for a gradual and phased recovery of economic activity under a “Risk-Adjusted Strategy”. Minister Patel affirmed that it was essential to have robust conversations and all-embracing consultations during the past seven days with all key industry stakeholders in order to deliberately take a cautious approach that will always balance the need to resume economic activity with the imperative to contain the virus and save people’s lives.
Significantly, car dealers are now allowed to sell both new and used cars while original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and importers may wholesale new and used cars. Cars may also be imported and exported. Trade-in purchases, car lease scheme returns and the wholesale trading of used cars are also permitted.
There are three phases to get dealerships to operate at 100% capacity – and these are important to motorists and dealers alike. Under Phase One (commencing 12 May; expected to end after a fortnight), dealerships and used car outlets can operate with a maximum of 30% of staff members and the majority of car sales must be done remotely (via the internet or telephone). Home deliveries of fully sanitised vehicles are mandatory.
With Phase Two (expected to commence on 26 May and last for a fortnight), dealerships and used car outlets can operate with up to 60% of staff members and limited customers can enter the dealership under extremely strict hygiene and social distancing conditions. On-site pick-ups and deliveries of fully sanitised cars will be allowed.
Phase Three commences on 8 June 2020 and continues until Alert Level 4 is lifted. At this stage, all staff members are allowed to return to work at the dealerships and used car outlets while customers will be allowed on-site (although this will still be kept to a minimum).
In all three phases, test drives can only be arranged on appointment while car auctions must be conducted online.
In order to support the dealerships, roadworthy assessment and testing centres will open while the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) will provide homologation services.
Tim Abbott, NAAMSA President, speaking on behalf of the entire automotive industry, said while everyone was anxious about when the industry would be allowed to trade, “we all understood that there are no trade-offs. The risk of this virus to spread is real and this is something we have embraced and it is part of all our business planning”, said Abbott. “We are very pleased that the Minister has heard our plea and we are also very grateful that our teams across all different brands and channels have collaborated seamlessly through NAAMSA and we all support the directives as outlined and announced by Minister Patel”, said Abbott.
Comment from George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO: “This directive is undoubtedly good news for motorists and the motor industry alike. Based on an AutoTrader survey, the financial well-being of a whopping 65% of vehicle-buying consumers in South Africa has been negatively impacted by the nationwide lockdown. Many (30% to be precise) are under pressure to replace their vehicle within the next four weeks. This is being reflected in a massive increase in online searches. The highest number of car searches in Level 4 period was recorded on 10 May; we recorded over 1,3 million searches on that day alone. In the last two weeks, enquiries to car dealers have risen by an astounding 69%.
Download and read the full directions regarding the sale of cars and repairs under Level 5 of the COVID-19 National State of Disaster at the link below