- Chinese auto company Geely will now give new-car buyers the option to have their keys flown to them via drone to limit human contact upon delivery, which comes at a time when limited contact is encouraged amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Since February, Geely customers have been able to order a car online and have it delivered to their home or office, but the option to have their keys dropped from the sky is new.
- Geely also sells one car – the Icon SUV – with an air-filtration system to combat bacteria and viruses.
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The coronavirus pandemic may be turning the global auto industry upside down, but China’s Geely is determined to keep selling new cars – even if that means delivering keys to customers by drone.
On Monday, Geely, which sells its own cars and is the parent company of both Volvo and Lotus, announced that it will give car buyers in certain areas the option to have their new vehicle’s keys delivered via drone “directly to their door or balcony.”
In February, Geely introduced an online car marketplace where customers can shop for cars and have them delivered to their home or workplace, and the automaker says it has already sold more than 10,000 cars through that platform. The newly introduced key-delivery option is Geely’s way of “furthering the distance between staff and consumer and creating a truly contactless process.”
Thorough disinfection and even ionization, Geely is going above and beyond in ensuring our customers have a safe and healthy purchase experience. We're taking contactless purchasing to the next level with drone key deliveries. https://t.co/iK4gxi37L5 pic.twitter.com/HSYRoSLO4D
— Geely Worldwide (@GeelyWorldwide) March 23, 2020
Geely didn’t mention the coronavirus in its announcement of drone deliveries, but did say that cars are disinfected by the dealer through ionization before going out for delivery. In regards to that, a Geely spokesperson told Business Insider that coronavirus concerns pushed the company “to take [its] interior program a step further at the dealership level.”
The drone delivery option comes after Geely’s announcement last month that its new, Chinese-market Icon SUV would be equipped with an N95-certified air-filtration system, which can purify the air inside the cabin of bacteria and viruses. It also comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far been the cause of a confirmed 409,000 infections and 18,000 deaths worldwide.
While balcony delivery may not be the norm in the US right now, some other automakers are encouraging new-car purchases through financing offers. Ford, for one, is extending a 90-day no-payment plan for new purchases, while Honda said it will contribute $1,000 toward the purchase of a new Honda or $500 toward a new Acura.