What Car Sales Look Like When You Can't Go Outside

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
what car sales look like when you cant go outside

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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4 of 8 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Feb 21, 2020

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

  • Cprescott Cprescott on Feb 24, 2020

    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.

  • Kcflyer The solution is harsh punishment, long prison terms, for car thieves. I suggest two weeks for first offense (unless they run from the cops or commit other offenses. Second offense, thirty years hard labor. That should do it.
  • Oberkanone Installing immobilizer is the answer. It's not hard. It's not expensive.
  • MrIcky Out of the possible Jeep recalls to bring up on this site, I'm surprised it's this one and not round 2 of the clutch recall.
  • Dukeisduke I saw a well-preserved Mark VII LSC on the road not too long ago, and I had to do a double-take. They still have a presence. Back when these were new, a cousin of mine owned an LSC with the BMW turbo diesel.
  • Dukeisduke I imagine that stud was added during the design process for something, and someone further along the process forgot to delete it after it became unnecessary.