Citroen has become the first car maker in the UK to introduce a sign language service at all its dealerships.
The French brand has partnered with interpretation specialist SignLive to offer an interactive service to the country’s 150,000 British Sign Language users to help communicate with sales and servicing staff.
It also said it would include BSL “representation” in its future TV advertising.
SignLive uses a video link to connect customers and dealership staff with a qualified sign language interpreter. Two versions of the service will be offered across the marque’s 190 sales and aftersales sites.
Eurig Druce, managing director of Citroen UK, said: “We understand the needs of our customers and work to exceed those expectations through our products and services. The nationwide adoption of SignLive across Citr oen UK's retailers will transform the car buying process for thousands of motorists, ensuring that it's not only our products that deliver comfort and serenity for all – the customer experience does as well.
"British Sign Language is used by 150,000 people in the UK, and as a brand, we recognised the need to do more for our customers. We are very proud at Citroen, to be the first manufacturer to offer this new level of customer service and hope the rest of the industry follows in our footsteps."
Customers will be able to use a dedicated app on their smartphone or a in-dealership tablet to connect to a SignLive interpreter who can then help them communicate with dealership staff.
Joel Kellhofer, CEO of SignLive, said: “The process of purchasing a car has, up until now, been inaccessible for the deaf community, with retail experiences on the whole a regular challenge for deaf and hard of hearing people. It is great to see a leading retailer like Citroen make a positive change to provide British Sign Language users with access to interpreters for support on their car-buying journey, totally free of charge. We’re delighted to support Citroen and all of its dealerships throughout the UK in making this massive change.”
Amanda Casson-Webb, Joint CEO of the Royal Association for Deaf people added: “This is great news and a positive step in ensuring that the deaf community will have the same opportunity and car-buying experience as hearing people. We know from first-hand experience that the process of buying a new car can be challenging for many deaf people, and hope that other car manufacturers follow Citroen’s lead.”