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With Coronavirus Still Spreading The Beijing Auto Show Has Been Delayed

Illustration for article titled With Coronavirus Still Spreading The Beijing Auto Show Has Been Delayed

The full socioeconomic effect of the coronavirus has not yet been felt as the disease continues to spread. As of this writing, the outbreak has infected over 75,000 people, killing at least 2000. China is an integral part of the automotive ecosystem, and this will have a long lasting effect in all aspects of life, but particularly where the automobile is concerned.

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Coronavirus has already taken the Chinese auto market down a peg, and caused the postponement (possibly cancellation) of the Formula E Sanya ePrix and the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix. The latest event to fall victim is the massive Beijing Auto Show, which has been postponed, currently without a definite date. It was intended to take place from April 21-30th, but that won’t happen. All of this has been confirmed in a release from the Beijing Auto Show on Monday.

The Beijing Auto Show is held every other year, alternating years with the Shanghai Motor Show. This bi-annual show has become one of international import, as many major automakers have used it as a product launchpad aimed at the largest automobile market in the world. With this massive marketing event postponed, and the Chinese market reeling in the wake of this disease, it’s likely that many automakers are falling on hard times right now as a result.

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Analysis of the Chinese market predicted an annual drop in 2020 of around 2% over 2019, but January and February have seen extremely poor car sales and even poorer car production numbers in the country as factories have been temporarily closed to keep the disease from spreading further and many people refraining from leaving their homes for something as trivial as buying a car.

If automakers can’t reach Chinese consumers directly through events like the Beijing Auto Show, you can bet that sales will continue on a downward slope. Even if the disease was wiped out today and everything went back to normal overnight, the deferred purchases and outright lack of purchases would still contribute to an abysmal sales year.

We have not yet seen the full effect of the coronavirus on the international automotive market. But even with the limited scope which we have seen, it’s not looking good. 

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.

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DISCUSSION

rocknroll-jeph
rocknroll_jeph

I am very bummed that that it is being postponed (cancelled), but it is the right call.

I can see the Beijing exhibition center from my house and as a car lover that is the best time of year for me. To have such a huge event right across the street, knowing there are some amazing cars so close to me makes me feel like I am living in a dream.

Still, it is really a challenging time here now. I have only been out of the house once in the past week and I am trying everything I can to stay safe and healthy. I wear a mask, I have a disinfection zone in my house, I take off my outside clothes, disinfect everything that comes in with me and I wash off as soon as I come inside.

I was also here during SARS and compared to that this virus is much more scary. Just the fact that you don’t know who may be infected makes you paranoid of everyone you may come in contact with. During SARS I was still going out and riding busses and skateboarding in the parks, I only wore a mask when posing for pictures.

Bringing people in from all over the world to be stuck shoulder to shoulder indoors for a week isn’t a smart idea when there is a highly contagious and still relatively not fully understood virus spreading.

I have been to the Auto show here 3 times, and each time if feels like I am in a mosh pit that covers a few acres as soon as I go through the door. I was fortunate that one of my friends was working in the show last time, he slipped me his badge at the gate and got me in on a day that wasn’t open to the public and it was still a current of people that would push and pull you, I felt like I didn’t have a choice where to go... close contact and closed space isn’t smart at this time.

I read the news from the states and it is really interesting the different takes that different sources are telling, some down play the seriousness and other make it seem apocalyptic. Its pretty scary either way, this is a new sickness and people are getting sick and dying.