CORONAVIRUS: MORE THAN 60 PERCENT OF GARAGES HAVE SHUT

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More than 60 percent of garages in the UK have closed their doors during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll.

The survey of suppliers, motor factors and garages was conducted to highlight the current state of the automotive aftermarket, as it continues to respond to the pandemic.

While 60 percent of garages in the UK have closed, many that have temporarily closed are still offering emergency work to customers and keyworkers.

READ: CORONAVIRUS: FACTORS TO REMAIN OPEN

The survey, carried out by marketing and PR agency Impression, found the main reasons for garages closing were a significant drop in business caused by social distancing measures and the decision to extend the MOT from 30 March by six months. Other respondents noted practical reasons such as childcare and the inability to source parts as motor factors had also closed.

On the question of what business support they were aware of during this time, 88 percent of garages had heard of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furloughing).

When asked what type of online training they would like to take part in, 73 percent of garages were interested in electric and hybrid training. This was followed by an interest in product training.

READ: CORONAVIRUS AND THE AFTERMARKET

The number of motor factors closing was smaller, currently 25 percent. Whether open or partially open, motor factors were running at 50 percent and below capacity. Interestingly, the motor factors that had initially closed had done so because of pressure from the public.

On to suppliers and manufacturer businesses, 67 percent were fully open, eight percent closed and 25 percent partially open.

Demand for product had reduced dramatically, in some cases by up to 85 percent. Business support, product and sales training were key for suppliers during this time, the survey of around 500 businesses revealed.

Mark Field, Impression director, said: “It’s important to see where we are as an industry and it’s clear that the MOT extension has had severe repercussions throughout the supply chain. Close communication is key as the market is changing on an almost daily basis with businesses reopening and garages receiving much needed support in the way of grants. We also seeing many acts of inspiration, innovation and overall kindness, which will define our industry for generations to come.”

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    1. Hi Sebastian, there are numerous instances where motor factors have links with the public. We also found social media being an area where public pressure was being applied.