The staggered return to freedom after lockdown number three could mean one of two things for dealerships across the UK – either a gradual recovery for car retail or a double whammy of opportunity, according to suggestions.

Many car dealers and manufacturers have been focusing on 12th April for showroom reopenings in England, but it could be 17th May that prompts motorists to get back into their cars after a more tangible sense of freedom is allowed. As long as the prime minister’s recovery plan stays on course, mid-May is when hotels, B&Bs and hospitality venues will reopen and groups of less than 30 will be allowed outdoors – the first opportunity for Brits to travel to venues outside of their local area.

RTC Chief Richard Robinson believes this greater freedom will lead to a surge in both car sales and aftersales opportunity, saying: “With pent-up spending demand rising and overseas holidays still considered a risky expense in light of the global coronavirus situation, it is likely that the ‘Great British Staycation’ will enjoy a renaissance in 2021.”

“This brings a real opportunity for dealerships to maximise aftersales opportunities by checking work-deferred records and proactively contacting customers who have put off expensive repair and maintenance costs while in lockdown. With a semblance of normality returning and vehicles more likely to be in use again, customers will be more likely to approve deferred work. Having this carried out as lockdown eases will ensure vehicles remain safe and roadworthy as large sections of the economy reopen on 17th May.”

Robinson goes on to say that dealers that are able to offer a joined-up and seamless customer journey are the ones that will benefit the most as the return of physical customers creates opportunities throughout dealership businesses. He concludes by saying: “We’re all rightly excited about reopening showrooms on 12th April, but 17th May potentially brings even more opportunities to dealers as further restrictions are lifted and people begin to get out and about again.

“The increasing popularity of staycations as the only risk-free holiday choice means dealers can also maximise accessory sales and promote towbars, roof racks and other such products. By connecting these departments and offering a seamless customer journey, dealerships can get back on track and recoup some of the losses incurred throughout the past 12 months.”