As consumers get used to buying more goods online, it isn't surprising that a growing number of UK car companies are enabling them to buy a new car without setting foot in a showroom.
The latest to join the online arena is Skoda, with the Skoda Live Tour, which lets potential buyers speak to Product Hosts via a live internet video link to get virtual tours of car models they're interested in.
Customers can access the online showroom via www.skoda.co.uk from computers, tablets and smartphones, and get shown all around the car and find out how a range of features work. They can then arrange a test drive or configure the car they want online.
Peugeot has also launched an online buying portal. Its Order Online service, which has been built into www.peugeot.co.uk, lets you complete the entire buying process for any car in its range in as little as 30 minutes. Customers who want to get their car quickly can be less picky about spec, opting for an engine and trim level with a short delivery time, while those who want to can create a bespoke vehicle.
Peugeot's site will give you a guaranteed price for your part-exchange vehicle and provides a 'concierge', who will keep buyers up to date on their order until it is delivered. Although no special discounts are applied to cars sold via Order Online, they are eligible for all finance offers and manufacturer-backed deposit contributions on PCP finance deals.
Other cars you can buy online
Hyundai’s Click To Buy website enables buyers to get a trade-in valuation for their part-exchange car, choose and spec up a new car, pay a refundable deposit, sort out finance and specify when and where the new car will be delivered.
Cash buyers can complete the entire transaction online; only those taking out finance need to visit a dealership to sign the paperwork.
Five Hyundai models are on offer initially: the i10, i20, i30, Santa Fe and Tucson. Although prices are fixed and there’s no ability to haggle, they have a discount built in. For example, an i10 with a recommended retail price of £10,000 is offered for £8995 on Click To Buy.
Smart offers a similarly streamlined buying process and, although it isn’t offering a discount on the cars, it’s providing a £1000-plus manufacturer deposit contribution. That equates to £1152 off a £12,815 Smart Fortwo on a PCP deal. At first, only one specially pre-configured Fortwo and one Forfour are available, both based on Prime trim.
Krishan Bodhani, head of Smart in the UK, said: “Almost anything can be bought online now and we’re delighted to offer this option to our customers when purchasing their Smart car. It’s really easy to do and is extremely time-efficient, enabling customers to make a reservation, fill in a credit application and sign a contract at a time and place that works for them.”
Hyundai and Smart aren’t the only car makers to experiment with alternatives to traditional showrooms. Volvo only sold the limited First Edition XC90 to customers ordering online, and Audi opened its Audi City centre in London in 2012. This contemporary showroom has state-of-the-art technology walls and touchscreen tables on which Audi Specialists can help customers configure their next new car.
You can also buy a wide range of new cars at a discount via What Car?’s new car buying service. Enter the details of the car you’re after and our car buying marketplace lets dealers around the UK offer you their best price for it.
To become one of our trusted dealers, they have to sign up to our code of conduct, so you can rest assured that you’re getting a good service, as well as the car you want at the best price.
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