The UK automotive industry is calling for the government to allow car showrooms to re-open, as the SMMT estimates keeping them shut is costing the government £61m per day.

Vehicle showrooms have been shut since the start of the lockdown. They could still sell vehicles online, but until this week’s ease of regulations, they couldn’t deliver them. 

The Government is currently planning to allow some non-essential retail to re-open from 1 June, but it’s unclear whether this will include vehicle dealerships.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has calculated that keeping car showrooms shut is costing the government £61m per day in furlough funding and lost tax income.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, commented, “Government measures to support the critical automotive industry during the crisis have provided an essential lifeline, and the sector is now ready to return to work to help the UK rebuild. Car showrooms, just like garden centres, are spacious and can accommodate social distancing easily, making them some of the UK’s safest retail premises. 

“Allowing dealers to get back to business will help stimulate consumer confidence and unlock recovery of the wider industry, boosting tax revenue and reducing the burden on government spending. Unlike many other retail sectors, car sales act as the engine for manufacturing and reopening showrooms is an easy and relatively safe next step to help get the economy restarted. With every day of closure another day of lost income for the industry and Treasury, we see no reason for delay.”