A used-car dealership chain in New Zealand is attempting to leverage sales in the face of the international pandemic.
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A used car dealership group in New Zealand has targeted sufferers of the coronavirus by offering them a $500 discount – although it's unclear how staff will prove the bonafides of ill buyers.

One of the country's largest used car operators, 2 Cheap Cars, ran a sponsored Facebook advertisement with an image of a man wearing a face-mask with the caption: “Worried about using public transport? We’ve got loads of cars below $5000 or from $25 per week. Get in quick for a great deal!”.

While the original advertisement did not explicitly mention the virus, it was implied.

The Facebook post has since been taken down. The CEO of 2 Cheap Cars, Daniel Buckley, told CarAdvice: "We have stopped running it (the advertisement). We mostly only run ads for a few days."

Earlier this week, Mr Buckley told New Zealand news outlet Stuff: “If you have the coronavirus and want to buy a car from now on this week we will give you $500 off – but you have to warn us you are coming in so we can put a mask on”.

Mr Buckley told CarAdvice the discount is valid and still available for those infected, however nobody has come forward trying to claim the discount.

The New Zealand used car operator 2 Cheap Cars is not immune to controversy. In 2019, the company pleaded guilty to 10 charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act 1986 and was fined NZ$438,000 (AU$416,000) for a misleading advertising campaign in 2017.

It had claimed a "liquidation sale" despite the business not entering liquidation. The New Zealand Commerce Commission's investigation concluded the advertising tactics used were “devious” and “misleading". The investigation also reviewed a "warranty waiver" it had customers sign that was deemed unlawful.

Meantime, 2 Cheap Cars told CarAdvice it has not been contacted by any regulatory bodies regarding its recent Facebook advertisement targeting ill buyers.

Image: Geneva motor show

The coronavirus has had a profound impact on the automotive industry globally, with some manufacturers halting production and imposing travel bans.

The recent 2020 Geneva motor show was also cancelled after the Swiss government imposed a new policy limiting the size of public gatherings in an effort to curb transmission.