By on February 21, 2020

Forgive us for mentioning the coronavirus, or whatever it’s called now, once again. As the highly infectious illness spreads in China (and now South Korea and Iran), a staggering piece of data shows what happens to a country’s auto sales when the one-party state won’t let citizens leave their home.

After wartime-like measures went into effect near the virus’ epicenter in late January, car sales nearly skidded to a halt. It seems the tens of millions of citizens barred inside their homes decided to use their one government-mandated outdoor foray every two days to seek out food and medicine, not purchase a gleaming new automobile.

Not that many dealership were open in some regions.

The China Passenger Car Association now says the country of 1.45 billion saw new vehicle sales plunge 92 percent in the first half of February. In the first week of the month, sales were off 96 percent. That’s 811 daily sales in a country with a population topping that of Europe and the United States combined.

“There was barely anybody at car dealers in the first week of February as most people stayed at home,” said CPCA secretary general Cui Dongshu, as reported by the BBC.

On Thursday, authorities in the hard-hit province of Hubei extended the mandatory work stoppage, which was expected to end Feb. 21, to March 11th. Nonessential facilities will remain shuttered.

Still, the association expects somewhat less sickly numbers in the second half of February, what with the easing of restrictions seen in the rest of the country. That easing could be dialed back at any time, however.

In the wake of the outbreak, some automakers have altered their sales model to get vehicles into the hands of customers. Among them auto giant Geely, which now allows Chinese customers to order a car online, with the vehicle delivered to the buyer’s front door.

It would be prudent for that buyer to apply a Lysol wipe to every square inch of that car’s interior, plus the exterior door handles.

[Image: B.Zhou/Shuterstock]

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8 Comments on “What Car Sales Look Like When You Can’t Go Outside...”

  • avatar

    A Lysol wipe ain’t gonna do it! “The 2019-nCoV that first appeared in Wuhan, China, is the seventh strain of coronavirus. But Clorox and Lysol products may only be effective against already-known forms of coronavirus.”

    Best not to touch anything that’s been floating around the Chinese region!
    Hibernation may work, until one has to go food shopping!

    • 0 avatar

      @redgolf – here is a link of approved cleaners.

      Ironically, the surface cleaners used where I work are strong enough to be classified as a carcinogen if one is in direct contact.

  • avatar

    Possible new use for my ozone generator:

    [Run the “Enerzen Commercial Ozone Generator 6,000mg” inside a car for ~90 minutes and those musty odors are *gone*. Evacuate sentient beings before running it in a space frequented by sentient beings.]

  • avatar

    Lou_BC – Most people do not use cleaners to effectively kill bacteria/virus, in most cases there is a “kill time” that the cleaner must be left on otherwise you’re just spreading the germs/virus around!
    “If a disinfectant dries quickly, you’ll have to reapply it until the kill time is reached, according to EPA regulations (and, often, the product’s label). Many of these products also contain alcohol, which can cause the liquid to dry quickly. This can make it difficult to keep the surface wet without re-wiping multiple times, so you’re better off using a spray disinfectant cleaner.”

    “Disinfecting wipes are popular for their convenience, but their label directions usually instruct you to leave the cleaning surface visibly wet for 4-10 minutes, in order to fully eliminate dangerous illness-causing bacteria.”

  • avatar

    If tiny virus causes so much panic I wonder what will happen when aliens (from other solar system) finally land in China.

  • avatar

    Anyone who buys a car they can’t test drive to see the real world impact on bad interior design is an idiot. Also the small details of ride comfort and handling effectiveness is a big thing. Back during January 2019, a test drive eliminated 90% of the vehicles I was considering because I hated driving them – awful interior sightlines to the outside was the number one thing – but awful instrument design and mediocre handling was another thing – plus road noise – more bit the dust.

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