Superintendent of State Police, Patrick Callahan, today issued guidance (Administrative Order 2020-10) concerning “test drives” offered in connection with new car sales. The clarification comes after NJ CAR, last week, urged greater flexibility in new car sales and offered a detailed proposal to allow dealerships showrooms to open “by appointment”.
To be clear, today’s clarification eliminates one of the more confusing aspects of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order limiting new car sales operations and allows test drives under certain controlled circumstances. It does NOT permit showrooms to reopen or lift restrictions on sales activity at this time. Dealers are allowed to continue offering online sales and “contactless” delivery.
Under the terms of today’s clarification to Executive Orders 107 and 122, car dealerships may permit customers that have ordered and/or purchased a vehicle online or by phone to test drive the vehicle at the time of pick-up or prior to delivery, provided the dealership adopts social distancing policies, the individual is given access to the vehicle alone, and the dealership appropriately cleans and sanitizes the vehicle after such test drive, if the customer does not purchase the vehicle.
NJ CAR has consistently advocated for a phased reopening of new car showrooms “by appointment only” and pursuant to strict OSHA and CDC health and safety guidelines. We believe that the new car sales process and dealership facilities make it possible to reopen showrooms without risking the health and safety of employees or consumers.
The Governor is in the process of appointing a Commission to restart the New Jersey economy. NJ CAR will engage with the Commission and continue to press for a reopening of new car showrooms, sooner rather than later.