|THIS WEEKI was not going to talk about coronavirus this week. After all, it is covered in great depth in lots of othermedia around the world. However, the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show next week throws into focus just what an effect this virus is having on the world and its economy. Coincidentally, wearing my other hat as MD of another company, BackupHR, we are running a webinar for employers on Monday, at 11 AM, regarding what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your workforce. There are still a few places left, it will last little more than 30 minutes, click here to register Renault did not have a good year last year. Ongoing problems over the departure of its chief executive, a poor relationship with Nissan and a deteriorating market share saw their profits tumble. Today they announced they are selling some of their retail dealerships. These are in France, but it will be interesting to see if they are going to continue that trend around Europe. They claim to be Europe’s biggest retailer with over 275 outlets. If they are looking to save money, then there is an awful lot of capital and overhead tied up in such a network. Some better news for VW this week, as they say that they have reached an agreement in Germany with a major consumer group who took out a class action against them. The company itself has announced they have agreed an 830 million Euro settlement. Divided between 260,000 customers, that sounds like just over €3000 a head, though apparently it depends upon the value, the spec and the age of the vehicle. Automotive News Europe reckons the scandal has cost the carmaker €30 billion so far in fines and penalties. Finally, it is probably the law of unintended consequences, but the coronavirus might just be kicking into plan much wider use of online sales platforms. AM magazine reports that Geely has been the latest to launch an online service in China, sales through car showrooms plummeted 92% in the first half of February. Clearly this was largely as a result of the country’s lockdown in the face of the epidemic. The company has apparently worked on what is called a fully contactless service, even offering test drives without anybody having to come into contact with anybody else. Once you make this sort of thing happen, who knows where it will stop. Not good news for their dealers going forward.
Have a great weekend – don’t forget, March does not start until Sunday.