Virus fears sees Geely ramp up online sales

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Updated 22 February 2020

Virus fears sees Geely ramp up online sales

  • Consumers could order and customize their cars on Geely’s website
  • Sales of passenger cars in China, the world’s largest auto market, plunged 92 percent in the first 16 days of February

BEIJING: Chinese automaker Geely has launched a service for customers to buy cars online and have them delivered directly to their homes, in a bid to drum up sales as the coronavirus outbreak prompts buyers to stay away from showrooms.

Other carmakers like Tesla, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have also started to promote products heavily online in recent weeks, as authorities warn people to stay away from public places.

Consumers could order and customize their cars on Geely’s website, it said in a statement. It will also offer test drives where potential consumers will be able to arrange a drive starting from their home address in coordination with local dealerships.

The coronavirus has killed 2,236 people and infected  over 75,400 in mainland China, and strict public health measures to contain its spread have curbed business and consumer activity.

Sales of passenger cars in China, the world’s largest auto market, plunged 92 percent in the first 16 days of February compared with the same period a year earlier, data from one industry group showed.

Victor Yang, a senior official at Geely, told Reuters promoting online sales would allow automakers to directly reach customers, and help them build experience should they want to continue to do so in future.

Geely, which is China’s most globally-known automaker thanks to its investment in Volvo and Daimler, said that car production in February is around one-third of its usual monthly output, but around 90 percent of workers will return to work by the end of this month, Yang said, adding the automaker has bought facial masks for workers and dealers.

Geely has partnered with third-party online sales platforms including Tmall, JD.com and Suning.com in the past but it is the first time the Zhejiang-based automaker is selling cars through its website. Tesla, which is building cars from its $2 billion factory in Shanghai, has been promoting online sales for years.

Nationwide car sales are likely slide more than 10 percent in the first half of the year due to the outbreak, and 5 percent in total, provided the epidemic is effectively contained by April, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) told Reuters last week. 


Oil falls as rising virus cases overshadow demand recovery

An oil tanker ship at a port in Burgas, Bulgaria. Most market participants expect more downward pressure on oil, with COVID-19 ravaging the landscape. (Shutterstock)
Updated 05 August 2020

Oil falls as rising virus cases overshadow demand recovery

  • Declines come after WTI rose 1.8% and Brent climbed 1.5% on Monday; renewed lockdowns weigh on prices

LONDON: Oil prices eased on Tuesday on concerns that a fresh wave of COVID-19 infections will hamper a global demand recovery just as major producers ramp up output.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 67 cents, or 1.6 percent, at $40.34 a barrel, while Brent crude dropped 71 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $43.44.
The declines come after WTI rose 1.8 percent and Brent climbed 1.5 percent on Monday on better than expected data on manufacturing activity in Asia, Europe and the United States.
News from Asia and Europe is adding to concerns that the infection crisis may be spreading in a global second wave, not just in the United States and Brazil, said Paola Rodriguez Masiu of Rystad Energy.

HIGHLIGHTS

• News from Asia and Europe is adding to concerns that the infection crisis may be spreading in a global second wave, not just in the United States and Brazil, said Paola Rodriguez Masiu of Rystad Energy.

• Producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, together known as OPEC+, are raising output this month, adding about 1.5 million barrels per day of supply.

• Analysts estimate that US refined product stockpiles rose last week, according to a preliminary poll ahead of data from the American Petroleum Institute and the US government on Wednesday.

Denting fuel demand, cities from Manila to Melbourne are tightening lockdowns to battle new infections, while Norway has stopped cruise ship traffic in the latest European travel alarm.
In a further sign of a patchy rebound in demand, analysts estimate that US refined product stockpiles rose last week, according to a preliminary Reuters poll ahead of data from the American Petroleum Institute and the US government on Wednesday.
At the same time, producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, together known as OPEC+, are raising output this month, adding about 1.5 million barrels per day of supply. US producers also plan to restart shut-in production.
“Most oil market participants expect more downward pressure on oil ... with COVID-19 ravaging the landscape and OPEC+ adding more barrels into play,” said Stephen Innes, Chief Global Markets Strategist at AxiCorp.