Selling cars online is not a new thing but it has been more of a niche offering so far, with few adopters going for it. Most people still prefer to walk into a dealership and feel the car themselves rather than just see it on a screen in the comfort of their own home. Things have changed though ever since the new Coronavirus hit, especially in China. BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Tesla have ramped up their online presence in the last few weeks, trying to make up for the lack of sales.
A recent report showed that due to the new Coronavirus, people in China have been spending more and more time indoors and that car sales have dropped by 92% in China in February so far. That’s a huge blow to car makers, who are relying on the hefty, sometimes double-digit growth, recorded by the Chinese car market every year. This is, after all, the largest market in the world for car makers and having sales drop like that could mean a lot of trouble.
That’s why, in a bid to counter their customers’ lack of mobility, BMW and other car makers have been pushing for online sales, according to Automotive News. The customers can configure their cars and set up a test drive from their home before committing.
The test drive will, of course, happen only if the customer agrees to step out of the house. This way, most companies are hoping to make up for some of business they are losing right now.
According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, the 2020 outcome doesn’t seem that bright right now. Nationwide car sales are likely to record a drop at the end of the year, some saying somewhere between 10 and 5 percent. The end result will depend mostly on how long it will take to contain the epidemic.