A CHAIN of car dealerships achieved record sales of used vehicles as the Covid crisis drove people to a “click and collect” platform.

Southampton-headquartered Snows said the service received a boost when the government said sales could be completed at the dealership as long as the customers did not enter a showroom.

The company, which has 50 dealerships in the south, introduced £99 online deposits in August 2019 and enjoyed “reasonable” take-up until March this year when they escalated during lockdown.

The company launched Click & Co on May 22 and saw end-to-end sales go from 26 in June to 35 in October.

It said the second lockdown was seeing 15-20 Click & Co orders a day.

Chairman Stephen Snow said: “When clarification was given by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy that retailers could complete sales on dealership premises on the condition that customers did not enter the showroom environment, we hit the ground running.

“We already had the £99 deposit scheme in place, but we knew Click & Go would be key to our business.

“Alongside a CitNOW best practice video training course for our sales teams, we swiftly developed a Click & Go system which was as simple as possible to navigate, with as few clicks as possible.”

Snows Click & Go offers customers a raft of online services from reserving a vehicle for £99, to a full end-to-end purchase. Finance and trade-in are also available, with an across the board option to return the vehicle within 14 days.

Mr Snow added: “Our teams are on hand throughout the process to deliver highly effective and comprehensive video calls and walkarounds, as well as support on the phone, via Live Chat, and through our online enquiry form.”

The UK’s used car market increased by 4.4 per cent in the third quarter of this year, after two consecutive quarters of decline, according to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Some 2.16million transactions took place between July and September, 92,217 more than the same period in 2019, with September recording the largest growth, up 6.3 per cent. It was the busiest quarter since the end of 2016.

Snows saw revenues of £429million in 2019.