Simon Bailes Peugeot has welcomed the resumption of driving tests – saying it will act as a further boost to car sales.

Learner drivers had to delay plans to hit the road after non-emergency driving tests were suspended during the first months of the year as part of lockdown restrictions.

Driving tests have now resumed, but the resulting demand has seen many centres booked up until August, with a nationwide backlog of some 420,000 tests.

Simon Bailes – who operates dealerships in Stockton, Guisborough, and Northallerton – said that while it will take time to clear the backlog, the resulting deluge of newly-qualified drivers will act as an important stimulant to the motor industry.

Data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reports that the new car market was 11.5 percent up in March compared with the same period year – a figure that remains well under normal levels.

Simon said: “Traditionally, those passing their driving tests were more likely to buy a used vehicle, but with a range of financing choices, including personal contract purchase, hire purchase, and leasing, a new car is an increasingly popular option.

“There will be thousands of newly qualified drivers looking to buy a car in the months ahead, which will be followed by a further wave of those who have only recently been able to start their driving lessons.”

During the latest lockdown Simon Bailes Peugeot continued to operate its aftersales and servicing department to support vehicle servicing and maintenance. In line with government guidelines, its showrooms reopened on April 12.

Despite the closure, it has continued to sell remotely, both online and over the telephone, accepting orders for new and used vehicles, using its Free Home Delivery or Click and Collect service.

Simon added: “It’s been wonderful to welcome customers back to our showrooms once again, and we’ve been pleased at the level of interest there has been.”