The flow-on effect of the Covid-19 Coronavirus is causing havoc for the Chinese new-car market, with registrations equalling just 8 percent compared to the same period in 2019.
According to figures published by Reuters from China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), just 4909 units were shifted in the first 16 days of February when 59,930 cars were sold in the same timeframe last year.
That equates to sales plummeting a staggering 92 percent, with the CPCA stating that dealerships remain bereft of foot traffic with customers staying behind closed doors.
“Very few dealerships opened in the first weeks of February, and they have had very little customer traffic,” the CPCA said.
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To help alleviate the downturn in a market that sold 25 million vehicles in 2019, car makers are turning to the internet to generate an upturn and get customers buying cars again.
Reuters reports that Chinese manufacturer Geely has opened up a system where customers can order and buy cars through its website and have the car delivered to their driveway.
What’s more, according to Geely, potential customers can spec their cars via an online configurator, while test drives can be arranged through a local dealer, with the route starting from home addresses.
Other manufacturers are moving to this stay-at-home process as Chinese authorities increase warnings to stay away from public places.
The impact of the Coronavirus is already showing globally, with the Geneva motor show organisers observing the spread and potential ramifications to the iconic event which is said to go ahead as planned on March 2. The 2020 Beijing motor show has been postponed.
The 2020 Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix, scheduled for April 17-19, has already been axed, with organisers keeping options open for a switch to a later date this year.
However, MotoGP will head to Thailand as planned.