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Volvo’s UK network will be among the franchise’s first European retailers to take part in a radical new online ordering, selling and financing system to be rolled out for 2015. Volvo tested the plan with internet-only global sales of a limited-run First Edition of the new XC90, which were all snapped up within 47 hours.
Confirming what he described as a pioneering sales tool for the company and its retailers, Alain Visser, Volvo’s senior vice-president for sales, marketing and customer service, said customers wanted increasingly to avoid horse-trading and negotiating in a showroom. A fixed-price, transparent online channel could in time operate across the brand’s range.
He admitted significant and complex issues first required resolving, including retailer margins. Volvo would also stay away from handling trade-ins online. They were, Mr Visser said: “a different country and no-way something we can control.” The former GM Europe executive added: “We will not dump this on our dealers, and some of them are cynical and nervous but the pilot scheme involving 1.927 cars proved it can work for them and us. Communication is brutally important. The UK will be one of the earliest markets involved due to its advanced infrastructure. ”
Consultation with the European network generated some friction, he conceded, but that was the last thing Volvo wanted and he would ensure retailers were aligned with what he described as “one hell of a challenge”. The initiative would not bypass them but he acknowledged that average showroom visits pending purchase are down to 1.4, while 85% of Volvo customers conduct advanced research online. The project, integrating finance and leasing, is on target, but certain elements remained as work in progress.
(Source: Auto Retail Network)