The remarketing sector is being urged to fully embrace the government’s Covid booster programme in order to remain as close to fully operational as possible in the New Year.
Philip Nothard, chair at the Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA), said that if the Omicron variant proved as transmissible as feared, it could have a highly disruptive impact on the sector and businesses needed to take the threat seriously.
“Remarketing is very much a people-to-people business and the potential for the virus to create significant problems for everyone from auctions to dealers over the next few months appears to be very real.
“The number one task is, therefore, to ensure all staff have taken part in the booster programme. While protection against Omicron may not be as strong as for older variants, it is still the best line of defence.
“There also needs to be a renewed emphasis on basic measures such as social distancing, mask-wearing and hand washing, especially in environments where people are moving between many vehicles or in close proximity to others.
“Ultimately, there may still be disruption caused by Omicron, but taking these precautions could help to minimise its effects on remarketing activity.”
Philip added that a key question was whether the spread of the new virus would cause changes in consumer behaviour in the New Year.
“There is much speculation about whether the government may have to impose further lockdowns but it is worth remembering that when the first lockdowns took place at the start of the pandemic, most people were already staying home.
“If there is widespread concern about the new variant and people keep their contact with others to a minimum, then it means that the sector will need to return to largely digital retail models very quickly, whatever the official line.
“Q1 is a busy period for the remarketing sector and the industry should look to continue trading as strongly as possible using the knowledge it has gathered over the last 20 months about continuing to sell vehicles, whatever the conditions.”