Contactless Vehicle Deliveries Starting to Trickle Through
Some vehicle leasing customers are now starting to receive their delayed vehicle orders as a handful of dealers introduce 'contactless deliveries'.
So what does 'contactless' mean?
For many of us the term 'contactless delivery' is brand new, although at some point in our purchase history we've more than likely recieved a contactless delivery without realising.
What has become the norm for most of us and is used in the majority of day to day minor purchases is paying using contactless methods. This is usually preffered and reduces the need to carry cash, furthermore if you use Apple Pay or a similar service you don't even need a payment card or wallet/purse! In this type of purchase 'contactless' means that the transaction does not require the customers signature or pin number to complete.
What is a 'contactless delivery'?
In principle a 'contactless delivery' is the same as the name suggests, meaning that the customer will receive their goods without having any physical contact with another person to do so. Think of contactless deliveries for food, takeaway services and items from Amazon etc, the process is, you buy online and the item is delivered to your door without the needs for a signature of any physical contact. Not all items are available for contactless delivery.
Now moving on to 'contactless vehicle deliveries', I'm sure a few eye brows are raised questioning how exactly a car can be delivered without contact, so here we have broken it down for you:
The vehicle is likely being housed at a secure location/depot and is ready for customer delivery. This usually means that the vehicle does not need any mechanical or aesthetic work completed, nor does it require a Pre Delivery Inspection (PDI) it is good to go! Once the vehicle is good to go their are two options for delivery.
The first is where the vehicle is loaded onto a transporter and driven away with other vehicles being delivered to customers whose location falls within close proximity of oneanother. Most transporters can fit 12 cars on so there will need to be some thought into the logistics of which car is loaded first to make unloading correctly possible.
The second scenario is a person will drive the vehicle to you. Dealers and logistic representatives responsible for deliveries have put in their own processes to sanitise and ensure they follow the current Government advice and guidelines. These include equipping their delivery drivers with cleaning products to thoroughly clean the high touch traffic areas when they exit the vehicle before handover. Delivery drivers are also screened to limit any risk of spread for both customer and driver, we have heard that this has limited the availability of drivers by up to 80%.
Similar to a contactless food or parcel delivery where the goods are left at your door with no requiremnet for a signature, the vehicle will be parked outside your home and the keys and documents can be put through your letter box where possible. Other options include leaving documents inside the vehicle and exchanging keys from a distance.
Tesla have been operating their 'Touchless Delivery' service prior to the pandemic and the feedback from customers has been very positive.
What about checking for damage?
Under normal circumstances customers often do a walk round of the vehicle with the delivery representative present to agree on the vehicles condition and document any issues. During a contactless delivery the process is slightly different, and by using your smartphone you can document any issues and deal with your vehicle provider directly.
Where is my vehicle now, and can it be delivered?
Since the lockdown began there are a significant number of cars that are in the 'system' waiting to be dispatched. Under normal circumstances a simple 3 step process would complete this 'system', however with most things currently paused, your vehicle could be at or between one of the stages below;
- Vehicle is built and is awaiting to exit the factory, probably somewhere in mainland Europe.
- The vehicle is in transit from the factory to a holding compound - these can be either side of the English Channel
- The vehicle is awaiting to be shipped from the compound to either a dealership or a fleet PDI centre
Once they have a completed PDI check thats when the delivery can be arranged.
Who is likely to recieve delivery?
The general consensus is that contactless deliveries are prioritised and offered first to NHS Staff, Key Workers and Frontline Workers who need a vehicle to continue performing their job roles. This does cause some confusion as we have seen the list of Key and Frontline Workers grow and change since the start of the pandemic. This does not mean that if you are not an NHS or Frontline Woker that you won't get your vehicle delivered but it does improve the chances of getting it on time.
Will deliveries return to normal processes after lockdown?
We believe it is unlikely that the processes will be the same post lockdown. Our belief is that more contactless options will be promoted and required and where that isn't possible, sanitising and Personal Protective Equipment will be used.
Are contactless car deliveries safe?
At the moment their is no evidence to suggest either way, delivery organisations and dealers are using the Government advice to keep within the guidelines that we are all following. So during a contactless delivery you won't breach any rules such as the 2metre social distancing.
Another issue is drivers and their safety. Some drivers don’t feel that it is safe for them to actually deliver the vehicle and it is very important they are not asked to do something they are not comfortable with.
A senior representative at a major manufacturer stated that in his opinion 'lockdown is lockdown', suggesting that deliveries shouldn't take place unless absolutely necessary.
The key question within the industry is how vehicle providers can get deliveries moving again in a safe fashion that everyone is happy with. The majority of other industries have managed to continue delivery services by adopting the contactless approach.
What are Rivervale doing
We are not responsible for deliveries, these are provided on behalf of the dealer supplying the vehicle, so while it's all well and good planning deliveries for our customers they can only be achieved if the car has been through the three stages detailed above and the dealer has a contactless delivery option available.
We are keeping customers updated as we find out more information and we expect to see things develop over the next few weeks. What we do know is that there are 1000’s of lease cars that were booked for delivery in the last week of March. For us it was circa 33% of our March deliveries that were going to be delivered that week. So these cars that have completed stages 1-3 are ready for delivery. There is a backlog of deliveries that everyone wants to get on with so if the dealer has a safe and sensible contactless option in place we think it is only going to help tackle the backlog once lockdown restraints are lifted.