Covid-19: Buying cars and conducting emergency repairs is permitted under Level 4 lockdown

New and used car sales and the emergency repair and servicing of vehicles are permitted under Level 4 lockdown.

The Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel has permitted the sale of cars and emergency vehicle repairs during Level 4.

He published specific regulations on 12 May in the Government Gazette. Patel said that the trade in new and used cars would be permitted as well as the export and import of all categories of cars through national ports of entry under strict guidelines. Trade-in purchases, car lease schemes and wholesale trading of used cars are also permitted.

He said that roadworthy assessment and testing centres would be operational to allow for and facilitate the sale of cars and proper functioning of the supply chain.

Car sales are permitted under strict conditions set out in three phases:

Phase 1

  • Dealerships and used car outlets are to operate with up to 30 per cent of their staff component
  • Majority of sales are to be done remotely with personal contact kept to a minimum and only allowed through appointments under strict hygiene and social distancing conditions
  • Test drives will be permitted by appointment only
  • Home delivery of fully sanitised vehicles will be mandatory
  • Car auctions will be conducted online only
  • Where possible, virtual or electronic signatures will be used for finance and insurance documents.

Phase 2

  • Dealerships and used car outlets to operate with up to 60 per cent staff
  • Limited customers will be able to enter dealerships under strict conditions
  • Remote vehicle sales will continue for those with access to internet
  • Test drives conducted by appointment only
  • On-site pick-ups and deliveries of fully-sanitised vehicles will be allowed
  • Car auctions still to be conducted online with limited physical contact allowed for viewing prior to the auction under strict conditions.

Phase 3 – said to be conducted from 8 June until Level 4 is lifted

  • Up to 100 per cent staff component
  • Customer on-site contact allowed, but to be kept to a minimum, with remote sales encouraged.

Emergency automobile repairs

Emergency vehicle repairs will be permitted on an appointment-only basis.

“Unsolicited walk-ins will only be allowed under exceptional and emergency circumstances,” according to the Government Gazette.

According to the regulations, the following vehicles are included under the term ‘cars’: light, medium, heavy and extra heavy commercial vehicles, buses, motorcycles, trailers, caravans, agricultural and other implements designed to be drawn by such a car.

While cars due for services, in need of repair to restore the car’s roadworthiness and required for essential services will be permitted as an emergency, the following categories are not considered an emergency:

  • Cosmetic repairs including minor scratches, dents and cosmetic enhancements
  • Voluntary or routine servicing that is not overdue in terms of manufacturer’s service intervals
  • Warranty campaigns of a cosmetic nature unless the warranty is due to expire within 30 days of the intended repair date.

Auto electricians, tyre fitment, windscreen replacement centres, bond stores and parts distribution centres, motor body repairs and any related repairs businesses are permitted to reopen.

These support services should also operate with limited staff components according to the phases set out for dealerships and used car outlets. Exceptions include bond stores and parts distribution centres which may operate at 50 per cent staff from Phase 1.

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