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Following PM Boris Johnson’s announcement that British citizens should remain at home, the Guild has been checking with car companies about what this means for press fleet loans.

We already have some responses and will update this page regularly as more manufacturers advise us of their policies.

Be sure to also check directly with the manufacturers with any specific queries.

 

AUDI / SEAT / SKODA / VOLKSWAGEN

Press vehicles that are currently on loan can remain with the journalist until further notice. This is a measure to protect our own employees and respect the wishes of media who wish to self-isolate. Those media who do not wish to keep a press car for a prolonged period, due to parking permits, cost or another reason, should make contact to the press office and we will deal with the requests on a case by case basis it collected as soon as possible.

Our press fleet operation will maintain the Government position of stopping non-essential travel for the duration of the coronavirus measures. No further vehicles will be delivered to media until a time as it is deemed safe and appropriate to do so.

Once restrictions are lifted we will seek to have all vehicles returned, serviced and then look to cater for other media that may also require the vehicle. This will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Regarding future loans, we have currently stopped all further bookings. Given the uncertainty over the ‘lockdown’ period, it would be unwise to book cars out for three weeks hence and then have to reschedule them all. The press fleet manager will now collate a list of requests and, once we know it is safe and appropriate to start loaning vehicles out, this list will be worked through and the corresponding media contacted.

We fully appreciate just how difficult it currently is for all concerned. Freelance workers will need to work, magazine editors are looking at empty pages and are having to get ever more creative while protecting employees. The cancellation of events and travel was one thing, but with the avenue of loan cars now being closed it will make it harder.

We are currently looking at what ‘other’ news stories we can help journalists with, but we all know it will be challenging without the access to product. And of course, if editors have ideas for creative features which can be activated safely from our home offices, the press teams would love to hear from you!

 

BMW / MINI

BMW Group UK has advised journalists expecting cars to be delivered or collected that its press fleet is grounded for at least three weeks. All transported press movements will cease with immediate effect and media will not be allowed to collect or return vehicles to SummitOne.

Journalists with cars on test have been asked to keep the vehicle for the foreseeable future. We plan to collect these when the current restrictions lift or have asked them to call us if this presents a problem.

As regards cars in week four and five, we will need to assess as some cars will be out of position and we have no idea at this stage how ready our Workshop/transport company will be then. I expect there will be some disruption regardless of any new government advice.

In terms of future bookings this is a little more tricky – we are very keen to resume normal service (for all our sakes) but as we have just found, many journalists were rushing to book cars over the last three weeks to fill gaps left in an empty event diary. They are being contacted to cancel their bookings and the press office would prefer not to do this again if possible – but it is an ever-evolving situation.

Aside from offering cars, if journalists have any remote ideas what we can help you with then we’ll do whatever we can to support – be it access to archive material, phone interviews and so on. Please don’t hesitate to throw ideas our way for BMW or MINI and we’ll also get our thinking caps on.

 

GROUPE PSA (Citroen, DS Automobiles, Peugeot, Vauxhall)

Test cars will be collected on the scheduled day unless otherwise advised. We will follow the UK Government advice and plans remain in place for the duration of the coronavirus measures.

We will now wait until the government advice changes and then seek to return arrangements to normal as soon as possible.

We advise any journalists with future bookings to wait until the Government advice changes, then please contact Craig Morrow.

The health and safety of our employees is a priority so your assistance in providing the vehicle in a clean condition for return collection is asked.

 

FORD

Our press garage shut effective the PM’s announcements last night. 

All vehicles out on test now default to + three-week minimum loan. I say minimum because Ford plants (and the press garage counts as a ‘plant’ internally) currently have an advanced shutdown to April 20.

Once we’ve regrouped as a team, we’ll issue more guidance on future bookings.

 

HONDA

Those media with bookings we are leaving the cars with them for the time being.

Once the restrictions lift, we will contact the media to work with them to get the cars back at a convenient time.

We are not taking future bookings at the moment as we cannot guarantee when we will be back up and running.

As soon as we are back up, we will be publicising it.

 

KIA

In immediate terms we will NOT be delivering any vehicles as of today until restrictions are lifted.

We will NOT be collecting any vehicles currently on loan.

As for bookings, we will look at how best to progress and communicate.

 

MAZDA

With the threat of COVID-19 continuing to rise in the UK and the government now advising against all but essential travel, Mazda UK has to regrettably suspend press fleet operations. To ensure you and our delivery staff are protected, we will be abiding by the current stay at home recommendations. Those of you who currently have a press car, it will be staying with you and those of you with a booking in the next three weeks, please contact us so that we can reschedule for the future.

We will of course be looking to restart press fleet operations as soon as government advice suggests this is appropriate. Initially we plan to suspend press fleet operations for three weeks and will continue to monitor the evolving situation.

Outside of press fleet, the Mazda UK Press Office is very much open and working remotely. We are here to assist you, and should you have any ideas for features or news stories please let us know. We will be contacting you with our ideas and suggestions for Mazda stories as we all work to try to minimise the disruption caused by the virus.

 

MERCEDES-BENZ

We will be contacting anyone who currently has a press car and arranging collection as soon as possible and unfortunately won’t be taking press fleet bookings. 

We’ll keep you posted when the situation changes.

 

RENAULT

We have endeavoured during these unprecedented times to provide our usual level of service to the media, and we have been facilitating press vehicles for test within Government guidelines and recommendations of hygiene and social distancing.

Following last night’s Government advice it is clear we can no longer offer this service. Groupe Renault UK and our vehicle partner Auto XP will cease physical operations until 14th April, where a regular review will take place in line with the Government recommendation. 

We will be in touch to discuss next steps with each of you who hold bookings during this initial period and appreciate your understanding at the present time.

The Groupe Renault UK PR Team will focus efforts on editorial suggestions during this time. 

As COVID-19 continues to spread, Groupe Renault UK recognises its duty of care to ensure its staff, suppliers and media colleagues are safe and protected.

 

TOYOTA

It’s an interesting one. The government instructions changed from key workers only to work from home, if you can. However, I think we all understand the intention.

Therefore, we will stop deliveries immediately and all cars (except long term loans) will be collected, in our case by Thursday.

We will seek to re-establish normal working as soon as possible.

 

SUZUKI

Any vehicles due to be delivered this week are postponed. Any planned collections are under review. These plans will remain in place until the government relaxes any restrictions on non-essential travel.

We will be seeking to collect test vehicles as quickly as possible once restrictions are lifted.

As for future bookings, we will resume as quickly as we are able to enable our journalist colleagues to do their work. I would estimate late June at the earliest as we will have a backlog of cancelled bookings from April / May.

We hope everyone and their families stay safe and well and we look forward to resuming normal service when we can.

Anything we can do to help, we will do. 

 

 

 

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