All Collections > Help and advice > COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates

We are actively monitoring the expansion of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and will provide updates on this page. If you have any questions, please refer to the FAQ below or reach out to your Account Manager or Customer Support team directly.

As it stands today, we are taking appropriate precautions but remain very much open for business as usual. With increased demand for customer contact and the potential of fewer people available, you may find our response time slower than usual. Please be assured we will do everything we can to maximise resource across our business to deal with customer needs.

If you have any sales or service enquiries, or you are looking to order a vehicle, return or extend a vehicle then please contact us in the usual way.

Last Updated date:
03/04/2020

FAQs

VWFS and Service

I require support who do I contact?

Our team will do everything we can to support our customers through this difficult time. We will continue to provide quotations, to order vehicles, and, where appropriate, advise you on how best to plan and respond for the weeks and months ahead. Our Customer Account Management team are working from home and available to support, please contact them in the usual way.

If you have any enquires relating to breakdown and recovery, accident management, replacement glass, maintenance and tyre services, please contact our Driverline service for support on 0330 100 8950. That’s 0330 100 8950.

If you wish to make contact with one of our team regarding any other query, please email salessupport@vwfs.co.uk if you are a Corporate customer or please email publicsector@vwfs.co.uk if you are a Public Sector customer.

What is the Volkswagen Financial Services UK response to the coronavirus?

We’re monitoring the situation closely: employee and customer safety remain our highest priority. Our business will continue to follow the UK Government guidelines as these develop. We’re working closely with our HQ and Volkswagen Group UK colleagues, and our Board of Management and Business Continuity Management (BCM) team are meeting on a regular basis as they work to keep our business running for our customers.

Our team, Volkswagen Financial Services | Fleet (VWFS | Fleet), will do everything we can to support our customers through this difficult time. We will continue to provide quotations, to order vehicles, and, where appropriate, advise you on how best to plan and respond for the weeks and months ahead.

What is your policy on visitors/meetings?

We are still open for business. Our customer teams remain available to you through telephone, email and Skype for all business enquiries. Our account managers would welcome the opportunity to continue to hold business meetings which can be conducted effectively over telephone calls, conference calls and Skype. However, we have suspended all face-to-face meetings with our business customers until further notice.

 

Are Volkswagen Financial Services UK staff affected by COVID-19 and are any self-isolating?

We have more than 1,000 employees, so inevitably some are affected by the current situation. For confidentiality reasons, we won’t be disclosing how many of our team are self-isolating or if any are affected. At present we can continue to provide a good level of operational service, but we do ask for your patience because in some cases, our response times may be delayed.

 

What impacts on service can I expect?

We are working hard both internally and with our network of suppliers to ensure that we can continue to provide the best service possible to our customers and drivers. This includes breakdown and recovery, daily rental services, accident management, replacement glass, maintenance and tyre services, as well as administrative support.

 

What are your business travel arrangements?

All business travel has been suspended until further notice. We have asked all our employees to work from home where possible and only essential office staff are being asked to travel to work. Due to the nature of our business, some colleagues need to work in the office to ensure we can continue to deal with our customers and deliver other business-critical activities that cannot be carried out from home. We have taken additional measures to ensure the safety of colleagues who are working in the office, such as precautionary deep cleaning of our offices, flexible shifts, etc.

Who is responsible for the insurance cover for uncollected vehicles once the original collection date has passed?

VWFS | Fleet will be responsible for the insurance of the vehicle once the requested collection date has passed. Until that date, you should insure your vehicle in the usual way. Please do not use the vehicle and ensure that you keep the vehicle in a safe place (preferably off road), and remove all your valuables.

 

Vehicle ordering, production, extensions, collection and delivery

Can I still order vehicles?

Yes. We are still taking vehicle orders and aim to operate a ‘business as usual’ service. Many vehicles are available in UK stock today, ready for delivery when the circumstances allow it. If a vehicle you need to order is affected by production issues, our expert team will work to find you an alternative stock vehicle.

What should I do if there is disruption to production, collections and deliveries? What are my extension options?

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation develops, there may be a future risk of disruption to vehicle production, collections and deliveries.

Whether that’s your drivers being unable to return vehicles, your supplying manufacturer stopping production, or your local dealership or delivery/collection agents not being able to operate at full capacity, there are a number of scenarios in which vehicle collections and deliveries may require postponement.

In many circumstances, the simplest and safest solution may be for you to hold on to your current vehicles.

To help you, we have mapped out some likely scenarios for you, below.

Vehicle returns and collection scenarios

1. My contract is ending shortly and I have not placed a new order yet?

We are pleased to confirm that you can extend your existing contract on a pro rata basis, you will continue to pay the current monthly rental. You do not need to take any action to extend your contract, we will complete this for you automatically. However, if you do want to make contact we’d be very pleased to hear from you.

Whilst you make your decision about your next vehicle we can confirm we are still here to help to support fleet policy decisions and vehicle selection. We are very happy to provide quotations in the usual manner to process new vehicle orders.

(a) If I am expecting to significantly exceed my contracted mileage can I still extend?

Yes, your contract will be adjusted pro rata against the original mileage parameters for the length of your extension. Given you are likely to be using your vehicles less than normal, this will probably mitigate any excess mileage charges due to lower than average utilisation.

 

2. I am expecting a key-for-key replacement and...

(a)…my current car is with VWFS | Fleet and my new one will also be supplied by VWFS.

We will extend your contract (as per item 1) and advise when a handover is possible, please bear with us as vehicle deliveries are currently being impacted by the current Covid-19 pandemic and associated government restrictions

 

(b)…my current car is with VWFS but my new one will come from another supplier.

We are happy to extend your contract to any future hand over date, we will extend the contracts automatically (as per item 1). Please make contact with us when you would like a collection, but please bear with us as vehicle collections are currently being impacted by the current Covid-19 pandemic and associated government restrictions

 

(c)…my current car is with another supplier, but my new one will come from VWFS.

Please contact us and we will advise on the status of your order and delivery date, but please bear with us as vehicle deliveries are currently being impacted by the current Covid-19 pandemic and associated government restrictions

 

3. I would like to return my vehicle as my contract has expired but I no longer require a replacement?

As stated we are happy to extend at the same monthly rental, but if you do wish to return your vehicle please call our Sales Support Team. Please bear with us as vehicle collections are currently being impacted by the current Covid-19 pandemic and associated government restrictions.

 

4. I would like to return my vehicle, my contract has not yet expired, but I no longer require a replacement?

Normal contractual conditions still apply, however, please call our Sales Support Team if you require support. We are not currently able to offer a normal collection service at this time. Please bear with us as vehicle deliveries are currently being impacted by the current Covid-19 pandemic and associated government restrictions.

 

5. My contract will expire shortly but I would like to extend on a formal basis (e.g. contract recalculation)?

Your contract will automatically extend on a pro rata basis and you will continue to pay the same monthly rental with no action required. If you request a recalculated extension this is possible, however, calculations are often based on current used car market values and therefore it is unlikely to be advantageous in the current economic climate. Please contact us if you need any advice, we’d be happy to provide an example for your consideration.

 

6. I have been extending for some time already, can I extend indefinitely?

Yes, provided you can maintain the vehicle in a safe and roadworthy condition we are happy to allow this and lift some of our normal restrictions. Your contract will automatically extend on a pro rata basis and you will continue to pay the same monthly rental with no action required.

*In all scenarios, you must continue to make your usual monthly contractual payments to maintain use of your vehicle.

 

Will cars and vans still be delivered in the usual way?

No. All vehicle handovers have been suspended by our suppliers. This is based on the Government’s new rules that came into force on 23 March 2020. Having ordered businesses including pubs, cinemas and theatres to close, the Government has now ordered more businesses and venues to close, to reduce person-to-person contact. We will cancel existing delivery and collection appointments and will make bookings towards the end of April. This situation remains subject to change and once government restrictions are relaxed. If you require any further information relating to the collection or delivery of a vehicle please contact our Sales Support team or your account manager

Will I be charged for collections that have been suspended?

No. Our suppliers have suspended all collections, so no fees will be charged.

My car was due to be collected and now won’t be and I don’t want to extend the contract, what should I do?

If your vehicle is due for collection and you choose not to extend the contract we advise the following:

  • You must not use the car
  • You should keep the car in a safe place (preferably off-road) and fully insured

During this time and until your vehicle is collected we will continue to tax the vehicle to avoid fines from the DVLA. If the contract has ended and you have requested a collection, we will not charge you from the date of your requested collection even if we are unable to physically collect the vehicle. The vehicle inspection will take place in the usual way once our operational service resumes. Although not booking collections and deliveries at this time, our collections partner will look to book appointments as soon as possible and in line with the end of government restrictions.

If at any point your circumstances change and you want to extend your vehicle contracts, we will be happy to arrange this.

Can VWFS | Fleet extend vehicle contracts to support our own contingency plans?

Yes, contracts can be extended both formally and informally. Informal extensions are put in place automatically when no vehicle collection is arranged, there is no need for you or your drivers to take action. If you want to formally extend a vehicle or vehicles on your fleet, please speak with your account manager, who will be happy to help.

 

Will we be charged for cancelling orders by VWFS | Fleet or by vehicle manufacturers?

If a vehicle has not yet been registered, many vehicle manufacturers will allow an order to be cancelled without charge, although this should not be assumed true for all manufacturers. If you want to cancel an order, please speak with one of our Sales Support team or with your account manager.

 

Are vehicle production and vehicle delivery times likely to be affected by COVID-19?

Some vehicle manufacturers have temporarily suspended production, we advise speaking with us to check availability and lead times for specific models of vehicles. Many vehicles are available in UK stock today, ready for delivery. If a vehicle you need to order is affected by production issues, our expert team will work to find you an alternative stock vehicle.

Volkswagen Group UK has shared the following update, which relates to Volkswagen cars and vans, Audi, SEAT and SKODA and original parts for these vehicles.

We are working with our Retailer partners to maintain the availability of parts and aftersales services. Updates will be provided via our Brand websites. We are of course in close contact with our logistics providers (parts, new car and used car distribution) who have reported that loading and shipping from our main ports is continuing, although now at a reduced level as a result of local measures in Germany to address the threat of COVID-19. As mentioned previously, both we and our major suppliers have robust business continuity plans in place that cover for many issues including potential reduction in available staff should sickness, self-quarantine or other isolation measures be necessary in the future.

 

What happens if my vehicles are due an MOT?

A temporary exemption for MOTs has been put in place to enable vital services to continue and key workers to get to work.

Vehicle owners will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, enabling them to continue to travel to work (where working from home is impossible) or to shop for necessities.

All cars, vans and motorcycles which would usually require an MOT test will be exempted from 30 March 2020. Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can still be prosecuted for driving unsafe vehicles.

We will continue to conduct essential maintenance services to keep key workers and business critical fleets mobile.

Please continue to call our Driverline team in the first instance when booking any fleet services, on 0330 100 8950.

I have a rental vehicle that I want to handback but the branch is closed or can’t be collected?

The majority of our rental provider network remains operational. However, if your rental vehicle can’t be collected or returned we advise the following:

  • You must not use the car
  • You should keep the car in a safe place
  • You should take photos of any damage and the mileage

Your rental provider will either arrange hand back or collection in the usual way once their operational service resumes.

 

Partners and Suppliers

Can business drivers still visit dealers and authorised repairers for vehicle collection, servicing and maintenance?

As it stands today, the majority of our dealers have been asked to close in line with Government guidance. However, some key network providers remain operational for essential maintenance services to keep key workers and business-critical fleets mobile. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Public Services
  • Government
  • Medical and food supplies
  • Public safety
  • Transport
  • Utilities

Please continue to call our Driverline team in the first instance when booking any fleet services, on 0330 100 8950.

We will prioritise key workers with essential repairs. All appointments will be contact-free.

I’m due to have a home charge point installation, will this still go ahead?

In light of new measures introduced by the Government, our partner has paused all home charge point installations until further notice. While the Government restrictions remain in place this means:

  • if you don’t have an installation date yet, you won’t get one for the time being
  • if you already have an installation date, your installation will not take place
  • our partner may contact you to pre-assess your installation to enable them to resume installing as soon as restrictions are lifted.

Once Government restrictions are relaxed, our partner will contact you to schedule/reschedule your installation.

What should my drivers do if they breakdown?

If you have any enquires relating to breakdown and recovery, accident management, replacement glass, maintenance and tyre services, please contact our Driverline service for support on 0330 100 8950. That’s 0330 100 8950.

Our breakdown recovery partner is operating normally but is seeing a reduction in demand due to less travel. We will prioritise key workers please make this known to our Driverline service team.

Employees with company cars on furlough

If one of our employees has gone on furlough through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, will their company car still attract Benefit in Kind tax?

We’re not in a position to offer tax advice. However, our understanding is that if the car is still available for the driver to use then the same rules will apply, despite the driver being on furlough. We recommend this Fleet News article which includes a clarification from HMRC:

HMRC told Fleet News that the benefit charge applies where a car is made available for private use, whether or not it is so used.

For example, the spokesman said: "A car kept on an employee’s driveway during a period of furlough would still be considered to be made available. Neither would we accept a SORN declaration as proof of unavailability.

"Ordinarily, we would expect that the car is handed back to the employer so that it cannot be used. However, we recognise that under the current circumstances it may not be possible to hand the car itself back, we would accept that where all the keys (or tabs) are in possession of the employer, and the employee does not have the authority to request the keys are returned to them, the car would be unavailable."

Read the full text of the article here: https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/fleet-industry-news/2020/04/02/coronavirus-hmrc-company-car-tax-clarification-welcomed

 

If an employees’ vehicle is no longer in use, can we register it as off-road?

This process is often referred to as ‘Statutory Off Road Notification’ or SORN for short. VWFS are asking customers not to SORN a leased vehicle which is currently part way through its contract; vehicles must also remain comprehensively insured (this is stated as a requirement in your company’s Master Lease Agreement) and road-legal. We do recognise that companies’ employees may be looking to reduce their Benefit in Kind liability during this period.

You may find this article, where HMRC provided a view, from Fleet News useful:

https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/fleet-industry-news/2020/04/02/coronavirus-hmrc-company-car-tax-clarification-welcomed

HMRC told Fleet News that the benefit charge applies where a car is made available for private use, whether or not it is so used.

For example, the spokesman said: "A car kept on an employee’s driveway during a period of furlough would still be considered to be made available. Neither would we accept a SORN declaration as proof of unavailability.

"Ordinarily, we would expect that the car is handed back to the employer so that it cannot be used. However, we recognise that under the current circumstances it may not be possible to hand the car itself back, we would accept that where all the keys (or tabs) are in possession of the employer, and the employee does not have the authority to request the keys are returned to them, the car would be unavailable."

 

As the leasing company and the registered keeper of the vehicle, will you authorise my company to allow a Furlough employee to use their company car or van for volunteer work to support the NHS?

Yes, VWFS | Fleet are happy that the car or van we have supplied to the company can be used to support the NHS for volunteering purposes.

All terms and conditions of the Master Lease Agreement would remain the same. For example, in the case of mileage, if 1,000 miles are recorded during this period, they would simply be included in the overall mileage of the vehicle when returned at the end of contract.

Please note that this is subject to your own insurance company confirming they will cover the insurance.