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May 19, 2020

As China Eases COVID-19 Restrictions, This Offers Us a Glimpse of What Motor Shows Will Be Like

As parts of China, the first country hit by the coronavirus, starts adjusting to life in the new normal, it also offers everyone a glimpse of what to expect, especially when it comes to auto shows. And if it’s a formula that’ll be seen elsewhere, it’s going to be interesting to say the least.

With China postponing their biggest auto show—Auto China to late September, carmakers such as SAIC have decided to do their own 10-day car show. While the show itself was staged at the downtown Shanghai Exhibition Center, the exhibits were not done inside the convention hall, but rather at the courtyard. Plus, flyers and brochures have given way to digital ones, and of course, everyone wore face masks.

The pocket motor show had SAIC bring out 40-plus models including those manufactured under their joint-ventures with GM and Volkswagen. And it wasn’t new cars or outrageous concepts that served as the main attraction; it was the hefty discounts—as much as 45 percent in some cases.

SAIC’s decision to hold an outdoor trade show isn’t even the norm for carmakers in China. Most, are now connecting with customers directly through online channels, even down to the dealer level. At the end of March, nearly a quarter of dealers in China started using live-streaming services for sales and marketing efforts.

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