Chinese automaker Geely has started a service for customers to purchase cars online and get them delivered directly to their residences, as the coronavirus outbreak has urged buyers to avoid going outside their home.
Other automakers such as Tesla, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have also started to promote products online in the recent times as the health crisis escalated and officials warned people to avoid public places.
Customers can order and customize their vehicles on Geely’s website, it noted in a statement. It will also provide test drives where potential consumers will be able to arrange a drive starting from their residence in coordination with regional dealerships.
The coronavirus has so far killed more than 2,236 people and stricken more than 75,400 in China. Strict public health measures to contain its spread have negatively impacted business and consumer activity.
Sales of passenger cars in the country, the world’s largest auto market, dropped 92% in the first 16 days of February compared with the same period one year ago, data from one industry group revealed.
Victor Yang, a senior official at Geely, informed Reuters promoting online sales will permit automakers to directly reach customers through sales and marketing and help them build experience should they want to keep doing so in future.
Geely, which is China’s most globally-known automaker, stated that car production in February is around one-third of its general monthly output, but around 90% of workers will get back to work by the end of this month, Yang stated, adding the automaker has bought facial masks for employees and dealers.
Geely has partnered with third-party online sales platforms such as Tmall, JD.com and Suning.com in the past however it is the first time the automaker is selling cars through its website. Tesla, which is building cars from its $2 billion factory in Shanghai, has been encouraging online sales for years.
Nationwide auto sales are likely drop over 10% in the first half of the year because of the outbreak, and around 5% for the entire year, provided the epidemic is effectively contained before April, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) informed Reuters last week.