Firstly, I hope you and your family are keeping well. Given the rapidly developing situation with the COVID-19 virus, I would like to update you on the situation at Ray Chapman Motors.

SERVICE AND PARTS DEPARTMENTS

Whilst our showrooms are currently closed we are legally allowed to keep our workshops open, however, the personal safety of our staff, customers and their families is paramount and therefore we took the decision at the start of the lockdown period to have a skeleton workshop team at both sites to meet the mobility needs of all customers including emergency/NHS and Key workers and to carry out emergency repairs, breakdown recoveries and recalls etc.

Despite this, we now have a huge backlog of Service/MOT/General Repair and Warranty recall bookings from March and April that require re scheduling and consequently the coming weeks/months will inevitably become a challenge for the business. I am also fully aware that operational procedures will have to change to ensure we minimise the risks to all customers and members of staff and to allow us to maintain social distancing regulations.

We have therefore introduced several changes to our protocols throughout the lockdown period which are now embedded into our daily operating procedures:

  • Maintaining social distancing between customers and staff, encouraging customers not to wait on site, increasing the space between customers in the customer waiting areas;
  • Sanitisation of keys, car contact points inside and out (both prior work commencing and post);
  • Cash less payments;
  • Sanitisation of courtesy cars before and after each use;
  • Continued use of gloves, increased handwashing, and sanitisation for all staff;
  • Contactless collection and delivery of your vehicle;
  • Clear screens between all staff and customers;

We do not know when the government will lift the current lockdown but to reiterate our workshops can remain open and in view of the significant backlog of work to re schedule we have planned a phased return to work within the Service department commencing Monday 27th April. Initially this will involve increasing our current team of two technicians at each site to four, with a view to increasing this further over the coming weeks. Our operating hours may increase over time with longer days and potentially weekend working, to accommodate social distancing regulations and the extra demand from those customers who have not been able to visit the dealerships during the lockdown.

I am aware many customers have cars that are either due a Service/MOT/Warranty Recall or general repairs. If you are one of these customers, please do not hesitate to contact either our York or Malton Dealership to arrange a mutually suitable time to carry out this work. We completely understand that some customers may be in an extended lockdown/live a significant distance from the dealerships or feel uncomfortable about venturing out and for those customers we will prioritise a contactless collection/delivery service.

I must stress that additional working procedures are now embedded into our daily routines to ensure we maintain social distancing guidelines. Full sanitisation processes throughout the dealership and on all cars coming into our environments are followed.

RETAIL SALES AND NATIONAL FLEET SALES DEPARTMENTS

Our showrooms remain closed, but our ONLINE SALES TEAMS ARE VERY MUCH OPEN AND AVAILABLE FOR YOU TO SPEAK WITH. We have sales representatives at both sites dealing with online/email enquiries and existing customer orders. Looking at our website activity/general online enquiries and overall sold order run rate, it is clear that buying habits are changing. The use of video/live chat and email functionality makes the whole process very easy and with clear and precise communication people are becoming increasingly comfortable buying online.

Whether you are looking at a New or Used car, our online team are available to speak to you at both York and Malton dealerships. We have over 140 Volvo Selekt used cars in stock and all are available to view on our website (www.raychapmanmotors.co.uk). We can arrange a full personal video walk around on any of our cars and can provide you with full part exchange valuations and finance packages to consider. It could not be any easier!

Furthermore, we have received government confirmation that we can deliver New and Used cars. For those customers who have purchased a New or Used car and where the vehicle is currently onsite, we will be contacting you to make arrangements to hand the car over to you. We have social distancing and sanitisation processes in place to achieve this and our sales team will explain the process we will follow prior to collection/delivery.

GENERAL

The Covid-19 crisis inevitably put our business under significant pressure as customers became increasingly uncomfortable to travel. Much guidance from governing bodies has arrived in recent days and I am comfortable that our decisions to re-boot our workshop activities fall within the Government guidelines. Many of our employees are currently furloughed and on the Government Job Retention Scheme however they understand that their return to work dates will fall in line with returning demand and will inevitable mean they will not necessarily all be back to work on the same date. We have a fantastic team of people who are extremely loyal to our business, most of whom are all eager to return to work. By adhering to government guidance and by implementing new working conditions and procedures I am convinced customers will feel more comfortable to travel when relaxations to the lockdown are made by the Government.

The safety of our staff and customers is very much at the forefront of my mind and I hope the measures we have put in place will minimise the risks to all concerned. The security of our family business is something I am eager to protect and consequently the sooner we are all back together the better.

Please stay safe/look after your families and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any problems or should you require any assistance.

Regards

Duncan R Chapman

Retailer Principal