Comparisons have been made to garden centres, which can remain open.

The British automotive industry is battling against new coronavirus lockdown measures which will see dealerships close their doors once again.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is calling for immediate clarification on what the new measures will mean for car retailing, and the effects that showroom closures will have on the economy.

New cars on dealership showroom floor

Taking to Twitter, SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said: "As England heads back into lockdown, we need to keep business operating.

"Auto Manufacturing must have its showrooms open; its proven safe and secure, a very different environment from other retail premises. We need to keep the economy turning – safely – and prevent wider job losses."

Under the incoming measures, showrooms will only be able to accept 'click and collect' customers, while car factories are allowed to remain open.

Garden centres will also be allowed to remain open during this second lockdown, something that Daksh Gupta, CEO of dealer group Marshalls has questioned.

"At a Garden centre today, why can these remain open and car showrooms with more space and visit visitors can'?" he said on Twitter. "This is a £82bn industry that employees over 800,000 people!"

New cars at dealer showroom

The second nationwide lockdown, which will run until December 2 initially comes after the first lockdown (March 23-June 1) resulted in a 33 percent drop in car sales – down from 1.9 million to 1.2 million compared to the same period last year.

After that experience, dealer groups are preparing better this time around, including making better use of technology.

"We are in a lot better place for the next few months, so I’m less worried if there was another lockdown," said Robert Forrester, CEO of dealer group Vertu Motors. "During the last lockdown we accelerated a lot of the activity around the customer journey, so not just the finance documents, but every single document can be now be signed digitally."

"The customer can now do everything from his sofa that you’d expect to do in a showroom apart from actually test-drive the car."