Volkswagen has announced that 100% of its retail partners have agreed to a new Tesla-like online sales model in Germany for its upcoming electric vehicle line, which starts with the ID.3.
In a press release published by the German automaker on May 20, the veteran automaker announced that customers could buy directly from Volkswagen straight from their computer or smartphone. Meanwhile, dealers will continue to remain involved in the sales process through modes of “personalized customer care and local services.”
After ordering their Volkswagen ID electric vehicle through the company’s website, buyers will then choose a preferred dealer that will take care of any needs they may require throughout the life of their car, like inspections, maintenance, or service.
Dealers technically assume the role of a traditional vehicle sales representative, Volkswagen said. “They look after acquisition, sales consultation, organizing test drives, transaction processing and vehicle handover in coordination with Volkswagen,” the company added.
“Volkswagen decides on the vehicle price, thus dispensing with complicated price negotiations. Dealers can therefore count on calculable compensation regardless of whether the customer buys their vehicle online or in the showroom.”
Head of Sales and Marketing for Volkswagen in Germany, Holger B. Santel, stated that every retail location and VW partner is entirely on board with the new system, which could alleviate the stress of the car buying experience.
“All our partners are now 100% on board. Broad approval from our retail partners for the agency model is a strong signal for the future. From the customer’s perspective, Volkswagen and retail become one unit with the agency model. And this seamless, coordinated shopping experience at all touchpoints is exactly what our customers want,” Santel said.
The inclusion of the new online mode of ordering a VW electric vehicle helps customers save money because the manufacturer assumes responsibility for vehicle financing, residual value risk, and inventory costs. Some of these fees are included when buying a car from a dealership, which can add hundreds of extra dollars simply because the dealership is storing the vehicle on the lot.
Dirk Weddigen von Knapp, Chairperson of the Volkswagen and Audi partner association, is also excited to save individual dealerships money, which he says is crucial at the current time. “Our partners can, therefore, focus on what makes retail so indispensable: personal, competent customer care. I am delighted that all partners have signed the jointly drafted agreement,” he said.
Volkswagen’s aim with the online-based customer purchasing option was to fulfill growing customer demand and give a smoother buying process to customers. The automaker has also developed a new IT system, known as “Thunder,” which will debut at dealers with the eventual launch of the ID family.
Currently, Volkswagen is working through some issues with the ID family of vehicles, whose issues are mainly based around software troubles. The first models are expected to be released soon.