Coronavirus outbreak has had a crippling effect on an already stuttering Chinese automotive industry with sales in February down by a massive 90 per cent. Local as well as global auto makers in the world's largest car market have gone from feeling the pinch to reeling under the punch that coronavirus has dealt. And although production has slowed down, existing inventories are gathering dust, prompting many cities in the country to come up with unique incentives for prospective customers.
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Reuters recently reported that Xiangtan, a city of three million people, is offering 3,000 yuan ($429) in cash if they choose to buy a Geely car. Geely is a well-known car maker in the country and also owns international brands like Volvo and Lotus.
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Foshan is another city that has reportedly decided to pay 2,000 yuan to anyone who chooses to buy a new car and 3,000 yuan to customers looking to replace their existing cars. Reuters has reported that the government here also has plans of offering subsidies to auto makers for their marketing plans.
And marketing plans have been jolted as well.
The Beijing Auto Show was recently put off due to the coronavirus outbreak, prompting manufacturers to switch to online platforms to reach out to customers. Many dealers are offering services like 'At Home Test Drive' to ensure that buyers don't have to come all the way to showrooms.
Despite all of these measures, industry experts mostly agree that the auto industry in China, as well as in many other parts of the world, is likely to face a turbulent 2020 with disruptions in parts supply and a steady decline in demand.