Motor sector support: where to find relevant advice
Keeping your dealership running through the pandemic has meant constantly adapting to new challenges. As the situation continues to evolve, government and industry bodies are working hard to share useful advice on COVID-19 related issues.
To help you access the advice and support you need, here are links to helpful resources based around six key topics affecting the motor sector.
1. Safety measures
Compliance with the latest government regulations is essential, not just to keep your staff and customers safe but to keep your dealership operational.
The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) provides regularly updated resources, including:
Protection – industry-specific guidance on COVID-19 measures for auto retail, as well as a list of suppliers of PPE.
Legal advice – policy documents covering temporary changes to workplace policies and procedures and managing infectious diseases in the workplace.
Risk assessments – third party guidance on COVID-19 workplace risk assessments covering legal requirements, business needs, employee issues, hazard and likelihood as well as detailing environmental and workplace controls.
Templates – documents for internal and external use including letters for key and furloughed workers, risk assessment forms and on-site customer notices.
Disease control – links to NHS guidance and materials on diseases control including printable posters (‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’).
2. Government business support
With a wide range of government financial support available, it’s worth checking whether you are eligible.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) COVID-19 hub is a one-stop shop for links to government schemes including:
Employment support – access to salary support for furloughed workers via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Business finance – provision of loans and grants via the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme.
Tax relief – deferring VAT and income tax payments, business rates holiday, HMRC ‘Time To Pay’ Scheme.
The NFDA has information from chartered accountants and business advisors Macintyre Hudson on supporting dealers to identify and obtain relevant government funding.
3. Finance-related issues
With the financial impacts of COVID-19 still developing, and many customers buying on finance, it’s helpful to get an expert perspective.
The Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) offers a wealth of advice, some of which is relevant to dealers, including:
Intergenerational differences in financial impact – a summary of Financial Conduct Authority research highlighting the impact of the pandemic on young earners.
Finance forbearance best practice – covering clear communication, information on the status of debts, referral to debt advice firms, forbearance options, assessing and confirming the affordability of payment plans.
4. Liquidity, cash flow and cost management
With so much uncertainty in the markets, the financial health of your business needs careful attention.
The NFDA offers advice from accounting network Grant Thornton on:
Cost management – cost reduction opportunities, strategic and tactical options, assessing future business, taking decisive action and refining your business plan.
Liquidity management – cash flow forecasting, stress testing, dealing with lenders, alternative financing options and other forms of liquidity support.
5. Supply and demand
Just as short-term consumer demand has surged, many dealerships are finding a backlog on supply caused by lockdown. So how do you continue to deliver for your customers?
The SMMT offer recorded webinars with industry experts discussing solutions to supply chain difficulties:
Managing demand – coping with a sudden uplift in demand, growing capacity without committing to long-term investment, and maximising throughout with reduced staffing (webinar recorded on 9th June).
Understanding market and supply chain issues – survey by PwC on COVID-19’s effects on the European supply chain (14th July); mid-year production outlook from AutoAnalysis (30th July); economic and market updates by SMMT Senior Economist Matt Croucher (30th July).