Volkswagen has announced a new program that will allow customers to test drive a Volkswagen ID.4 with the help of Amazon Alexa.
Other than the actual buying process at a dealership, the test drive can be one of the most awkward and uncomfortable for the buyer, especially with a pushy or inexperienced salesman. They want to show you every feature and can overwhelm you with information while you just want to think, use the vehicle, and consider making one of the most significant purchases in your life. Volkswagen hopes to minimize this awkward and uncomfortable experience by removing the salesman from the experience and in their place using Amazon Alexa.
After you have made a reservation online, you will meet with a Volkwagen specialist who will show you around the vehicle’s exterior and answer any questions, then, you will get in the VW ID.4 (the only vehicle the program is available in), and Alexa will take over. During the test drive, Alexa will answer technical questions, explain how to use vehicle features, and allow you to explore the vehicle at your own pace.
Volkswagen is not the first vehicle seller to overhaul its buying experience. Carmax recently updated their test drive system to allow potential customers to take out a vehicle for a whole day, removing the salesmen from the environment and allowing for the best experience for customers; to be left alone.
Other manufacturers are looking to implement more changes outside of the test drive. Ford’s most recent dealer meeting has strong-armed dealers into accepting a new no-negotiation pay structure and a more transparent customer buying experience. At the same time, GM’s numerous brands have been working to revitalize their dealer network, going as far as buying out dealers who don’t want to modernize.
All in all, there seems to be a convergence of buying experiences from many automakers and sellers. While many have been reticent to implement direct-to-consumer models like Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid, they are changing their existing models to a more streamlined and direct approach that mimics these startup brands.
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