As of Tuesday 12 May, it is possible to purchase and sell cars in South Africa. This comes after the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition published a new government gazette, which details precise directions regarding the sale of vehicles and emergency automobile repairs during level 4 of the lockdown.
Car dealers are now allowed to sell both new and used vehicles 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 now permitted.
Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel, on Tuesday, also published his department’s list of clothing and bedding allowed to be sold under level 4.
VEHICLE OUTLETS MAY OPERATE WITH 30% OF STAFF ON SITE
As of Tuesday evening, under Phase One of the reopenings of the motor industry, dealerships and used car outlets can operate with a maximum of 30% of staff members and the majority of vehicle sales must be done remotely (via the internet or telephone). Home deliveries of fully sanitised vehicles are also mandatory.
Phase Two — expected to commence on 26 May and last for a fortnight — states that dealerships and used vehicle 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: DEALERSHIPS OPERATE AT 100% CAPACITY
Phase Three commences on 8 June 2020 and will continue until level 4 is lifted. At this stage, all staff members are allowed to return to work at the dealerships and used vehicle 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.
AutoTrader CEO George Mienie said: “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 the 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%,” added Mienie.
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