Geely works around lockdowns with online car sales and drone delivery
As the COVID-19 pandemic rips across the world, it's leaving businesses and entire economies in tatters. China's auto industry saw its sales drop by 79 percent in February, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. To help stop the bleeding, Geely Auto launched an online purchase program complete with home deliveries. Not only does the company run the vehicle through a full disinfection regimen, it now offers drone delivery in select areas, eliminating one potential face-to-face transaction.
Geely launched its online ordering system on February 10 as a one-stop shop for Chinese customers to browse vehicles, modify specs, obtain financing and insurance, and order a contactless home/workplace delivery in lieu of the usual dealership pickup. The online portal serves as a central interface from which orders are sent to local dealerships for processing. Buyers can even schedule a home test drive in cooperation with their dealership.
As part of the program, Geely has gone to lengths to ensure a sanitary process, wiping and ionizing each vehicle ahead of delivery. Now it adds one more layer to the process, tasking drones with making the final key drop. Each drone carries the set of keys over from the dealership, dropping them on the customer's doorstep or balcony.
We're not sure the drone is really more "contactless" than just packaging the key up and dropping it on the customer's doorstep via regular delivery channels, but we suppose it does cut out at least one person in the delivery chain. And in this uncertain age of social distancing, we suppose the fewer people the better. Of course, there's a bonus that we're sure was integral in Geely's planning: a drone makes for a much more dramatic visual and promotion tool than a generic delivery van.
Last month, Geely also launched the new Icon SUV, which is its first to feature an N95-certified air purification system. Developed directly in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the system works with the air conditioning in filtering out bacteria and viruses.
Geely says that it's sold more than 10,000 cars via its online platform since launch and received interest from another 110,000 potential buyers. The company said at launch that it plans to expand the system with a home pickup/delivery vehicle servicing program.