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Test drives can be “essential”, says FCAI

As industries across Australia slow down, the FCAI encourages car owners and new car buyers to still visit dealerships when it’s required.

The beauty of cars is that you can travel from A to B and avoid interacting with anyone, so long as you have a tank of fuel. That’s great right now given we’re in lockdown over COVID-19. But the problem is if you’re buying a car, which should always involve test driving it first and interacting with sales staff.

However, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) assures us that the car industry remains open for both servicing and sales as essential services.

“Personal transport has increased in importance as it provides a secure, socially distanced manner of commuting to important engagements, such as health care appointments, shopping for essential items, or travelling to work (where necessary),” it says in its statement to the media.

The statement does come short at suggesting that anyone go out and buy a car on a whim, however: “The Chamber understands that short evaluation or test drives are permissible for prospective customers wishing to purchase a vehicle for their essential commuting requirements.”

What is allowed is replacing your car for a new one if it is essential to your travel, and also servicing your car, which is absolutely essential in maintaining its health. You can do that at a dealership, or an independent authorised workshop if it’s open. 

If you’re buying a car, there are dealers for all brands open around the country, however, some things have changed. This include virtual rather than face-to-face meetings and consultations with sales and service staff, contact-free servicing of vehicles and delivery of purchased cars, and “enhanced detailing and disinfecting practices.”

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae