The world is devising new ways to cope with the challenges posed by COVID-19. People wear masks when going outdoors, practice frequent handwashing, avoid high-touch surfaces, keep at least a 2.0-m distance from others, and shun crowded places. Before, these measures were imposed on people. Now, however, people take it upon themselves to avoid public spaces even when the government has started easing restrictions.
Shops and other commercial establishments, including showrooms and dealerships cannot expect as much traffic as before. If people won’t go to showrooms, how will car companies sell anything? Well, the solution is obvious, they can go the same way that motor shows have gone – using the virtual space.
Car companies, including Audi, Subaru, Mini, and Volkswagen, to name a few, have launched online stores. This is the customers’ window to their stores, which enables buyers to shop and purchase vehicles without stepping out of their homes. This method has been in place for countless commodities long before the pandemic. Even car parts have been available online for a while now. Car sales have not been as prevalent online, but they’re now testing the waters, too, so let’s see how some automakers are progressing in this new channel.
Mini Tries it Out for One Model
Mini, the British car company, has launched an online ordering system and car configurator, which lets you option vehicles and make deposits online with your preferred dealer. So far, this system has been implemented for the new Countryman Stafford Edition SUV, but Mini has announced that, if successful, this system would be expanded to include other models as well.
The system was developed in 2018 intending to support the dealership network by adding digital touchpoints and allowing customers to make online deposits.
The Case of Volkswagen
Although customers can already order car parts for the Volkswagen online, now the company has expanded its online ordering service to include a whole new car range. The ordering system was launched back in January 2020 for the T-Roc model, allowing customers to personalise their vehicles online. The T-Cross model is expected to begin in May and would be made available on VW's online ordering system as well.
Like Mini, VW’s ambition was to incorporate the online system with the dealership network as a supporting mechanism, enabling dealerships to contact customers within two days of receiving the initial deposit of $500. The rest of the delivery process was to be facilitated by the dealer.
The online service also offers car valuation process and trade-in estimates.
Contactless Car Pick-Up by Subaru
Just like you used to order Chinese food before the pandemic, you can now order a Subaru vehicle, and it would be home-delivered to you. Also, in case you wish to get your car serviced, the company is offering contactless pick-up and drop-off for you during the ongoing pandemic.
The service offer stands valid for all vehicles that have ongoing routine servicing, and the home delivery option is available to both online and showroom customers. Although many Subaru showrooms continue to remain open in Australia, these services have been made available for those who want to avoid going out in public spaces. People can also order Subaru car parts online.
Additional online services being offered include a virtual showroom appointment and some software updates delivered over the internet. The company is also offering test drives at home, and key touchpoints of the car are thoroughly cleaned at pick-up and drop-off every time it goes for servicing.
Audi Introduces Online Purchasing
A new platform for online purchasing has been developed by Audi for its Australian customers, providing them with an at-home delivery service for all the models available in its current range of vehicles.
On this platform, you can select your desired car and customise it per your preferences, take a virtual walk around, and pay a refundable deposit of $500 to reserve your vehicle. Once the transaction is complete, the car would be delivered to you at your doorstep, just like when you order car parts on the internet.
In case you wish to test drive a particular vehicle, Audi will send a representative to your home and conduct it. You can also trade-in your existing cars, and avail financing options through this online platform.
Beware, When Purchasing A Car Online
Look out for these red flags when you are purchasing cars or car parts online:
1) Ridiculously low price: In case a vehicle or its parts are available at an unbelievably low price, the chances are that it’s a scam or the parts are fake. Cars and their parts are usually available at competitive prices on all platforms, so it is wise to double-check the price on the internet.
2) Seller is not available on the phone: Scammers avoid communicating with you over the phone, so any online seller that is unwilling to have a phone conversation should be avoided.
3) Unsecure payment methods: Always make sure you are paying over a trusted payment channel online before you enter your credit card details.
4) Low quality of photos: A reliable seller would post high-quality images on its website to allow you a clear view of the condition of the vehicle or its parts. If the seller is only offering unclear, blurry photos, it might be because they have something to hide.
It is timely that carmakers have created their own trusted online stores for customers who prefer not to leave their homes during this time. Many additional features are also being offered that make the buying process more interactive.
Ordering cars and car parts are the best and most convenient way to do it. If you’re looking to buy car parts, you’re safer with us at Carpart.com.au, where you can access our network of 500+ certified car parts sellers. You can search our classified ads, but if you don’t have the time or patience to check each search result one by one, we highly recommend using our website’s Request a Part feature.
How does it work? All that you need to do is fill up a request form to give us details about the part that you need. You will then receive quotes from our members who have that part. So instead of you locating each seller, calling them up, and repeatedly describing the car part, you’re looking for, we’ve turned the table around and simplified the process for you! All you need to do next is choose the best offer and strike a deal. To access the Request a Part form now and allow us to find you that car part at no cost to you!
By Muhammad A. Lashari