VW Launching New Digital Sales Initiative For Euro Market In 2020
19 October 2018 - motor1
It will accompany the upcoming line of ID electric cars and cover sales as well as a new car-sharing program.
Volkswagen is radically revamping the way it sells cars, at least in Europe. The company will seek to embrace the changing times by offering more online options for car shoppers, including 24-hour support and the possibility of direct-to-consumer transactions. If that sounds suspiciously like a certain all-electric car brand from California, you're not wrong. VW stops short of specifically mentioning Tesla in its announcement on the shift in sales strategy, but there's no denying similarities in the methodology.
To be a bit more specific, VW says the new approach is "being driven by the progressive digitalization and connectivity of the Volkswagen fleet," which will enter a new phase with the company's all-electric ID lineup in 2020. To help make this happen, VW customers will have a personal ID number so the automaker can, in theory, cater to their exact needs
"This way, we will learn more about our customers' needs and will be able to develop optimum tailor-made offerings for each individual customer through intelligent data management," said Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen brand board member for sales. "This is already practiced successfully in other sectors."
If "intelligent data management" seems a bit creepy in a Big Brother sort-of way, you're not alone on that assessment. However, VW stresses this kind of connectivity will make car buying in the highly computerized, electric-era of the automobile better in every way. It will also be the cornerstone of a new car-sharing program VW is planning, called We Share. Does this mean traditional VW dealerships will disappear? Not according to the automaker.
The new plan includes brick-and-mortar stores in the digital revolution through increased contact and coordination online. In essence, shoppers choose a car and options they want online with VW, finalize the deal online through the dealership, then either pick up the car in person or have it delivered. Those who prefer haggling face-to-face – not to mention the grand idea of test-driving a car before you buy one –can still make a traditional dealership visit. VW also talks about five new dealership models, but doesn't really explain what they all mean.
The takeaway, however, is that European dealers seem okay with this. At least, that's what the European Dealer Council says in VW's press release, which you can see below. Whether individual dealers feel the same – not to mention customers – remains to be seen. We'll find out beginning in 2020, when the new sales initiative launches.