The main story in worldwide news over the past few weeks has been the threat of the spreading Coronavirus, which originated in China. It would appear that the luxury car market has not been unaffected, with Rolls-Royce – for whom China is the second-largest market after the USA – seeing sales fall to ‘close to zero’ as the large parts of the country have effectively come to a standstill.
Luxury markets – including cars – will always be the first to be affected by factors such as this that have a direct economic impact, as necessities take preferences over luxury purchase. Rolls Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos explained:
““It’s not quite zero, but it’s pretty close to But we also see some of the first signals of recovery in certain areas.” He added “It is impacting our business, that’s for sure,” he said. “I fully understand that people in these circumstances have other things to think about than to buy a Rolls Royce.”
Coronavirus – for which there is, at the time of writing, no known vaccine, is of concern to the world as it is believed to be highly contagious. Many countries have restricted travel and cancelled flights to and from China, and the crisis has already seen many sporting events – including the Chinese F1 Grand Prix due to take place on April 19th and the upcoming Formula E race – cancelled or postponed. Formula 1 races in Australia, Bahrain and Vietnam also hang in the balance.
Another luxury car maker, Aston-Martin, has also experienced a financial impact as a result of the Coronavirus, with shares falling to a record low. However, Muller-Otvos is confident Rolls Royce – a BMW-owned company – can ride out the storm:
“We are sitting on a very good order book in the U.S.,” he said. “But we are highly adaptable, we are vigilant. We are looking at it daily, and we are in close contact with all the markets worldwide.”
Geneva Motor Show Also Cancelled
Always the centre of attention for new cars as the first major automobile show of the year, the 90th edition of the Geneva Motor Show – scheduled to begin this week – has also been cancelled, as Switzerland’s government has instigated a ban on gatherings of more than 1000 people.
Geneva is the show to go to for the latest themes, new models and concepts, but this year the motoring world will have to wait and see how the current world situation unfolds. In a statement about the cancellation, show Chairman Maurice Turrettini said:
“We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors’ top priority. This is a case of force majeure and a tremendous loss for the manufacturers who have invested massively in their presence in Geneva. However, we are convinced that they will understand this decision.”
Persons who have purchased tickets to the show will be entitled to refunds.
It remains to be seen if the coronavirus crisis will have any further effect on the world of luxury and supercars, but Supercartribe will keep you updated with any news.