Swedish car-maker Volvo has announced revolutionary plans to sell cars to customers online in just 20 minutes – less time than it takes most people to do a weekly shop.
It said that from the comfort of their own home, car buyers using a laptop, smart-phone or tablet will, within that tight time-frame, be able to: select the car they want; specify the engine, sort trim levels, colour, equipment, and accessories; organise their finance to seal the deal; and even sort a part-exchange of their own existing car with a guaranteed value.
Details of the uncomplicated and time-efficient way to buy a new car were announced as the car firm launched ‘Volvo Online’ in the UK at a special event at the Shard in London.
Car buying from your sofa: Volvo is offering a service where motorists can purchase one of its cars online in less than 20 minutes
Customers who log onto the new Volvo Online website will be guided step-by-step on how to configure the car of their choice, and how to pay for it in a system designed to be as simple, straightforward and secure as buying items on Amazon or eBay.
As part of the process, the system also links customers to real people at a local dealership of their choice where staff can provide a human touch and double-check facts and figures at key points before customers make their final commitment to a purchase.
Customers can also pause the process at any point, or ask the local dealer to ring or email them, or make an appointment for a visit to a physical showroom.
Later a live-chat video link will be added as an additional step in the process.
The full online buying service – including the vehicle configurator – will initially only be available for Volvo’s award-winning XC40 compact SUV, though will be rolled out to all other models from 3 May.
Jon Wakefield, managing director of Volvo Car UK said: ‘Whether online or offline, the way people buy cars has changed. Customers now have much more control over the process, and Volvo Online helps them to take that one step further.
‘It makes life as easy as possible without compromising on choice or security, and lets customers drive the purchase process when it’s most convenient for them.’
Volvo Online has been launched to help those who are ‘busy and time-poor’, says the Swedish brand
The service means car buyers won’t ever have to step foot into a dealership until the moment they collect their new vehicle
A Volvo statement added: ‘They [customers] can even part-exchange their old vehicle, apply for finance and finalise the deal with an e-signature, all from the comfort of their home or office.
‘From start to finish, the entire process can take as little as 20 minutes to complete – less time than most people take to do their weekly shop.’
A recent YouGov survey of more than 2,000 British adults this month showed that only around one in 12 (eight per cent) said they spend less than 20 minutes doing their weekly shop, with 83 per cent taking more than half an hour and 22 per cent more than an hour.
The financial side of the business is being underpinned by Santander bank.
The Swedish brand added: ‘Volvo Online will be the only online sales offering from a car brand in the UK that allows you to configure your car – including the full range of specs, options, and packs – place an order with the factory, and sign an electronic finance agreement – all on a range of different payment options.’
The firm said Volvo Online is ‘designed with transparency and trust at its heart’ noting.
All forms of purchase are possible, including cash, personal contract purchase (PCP), personal contract hire (PCH), and a conditional sale involving a deposit and monthly payments.
The first model available through the service will be the award-winning XC40 SUV. All other Volvo cars can be bought from May 3
John Wakefield, MD of Volvo UK, said the service will ‘make life as easy as possible without compromising on choice or security, and lets customers drive the purchase process when it’s most convenient for them’
Bosses describe Volvo Online as ‘an intuitive, flexible and trustworthy way of buying a new car – from the comfort of your own home’.
Explaining the role of dealers, it said: ‘Not only can you contact them at any point during the process, but it will also bring you together when placing your final order to ensure you have everything you need.
‘It’s a personalised, transparent online experience which puts you firmly in control of your purchase – with the help of your local retailer when you need it- and all at your convenience.’
It will save valuable time for the ‘busy and time-poor’ but Volvo stressed: ’Trust is also a key factor – this will be a fully secure online system, with multiple checks throughout the process to ensure the customer isn’t being rushed into anything they will later regret with such a significant purchase.’
Volvo recently announced plans to impose a 112mph speed limit on its cars from 2020 to reduce speed-related accidents.
Volvo is owned by Chinese car-maker Geely, which owns British sports-carmaker maker Lotus, and also makes electric London taxis near Coventry.
The launch of the service comes as Volvo sales in the first three months of this year were up by 39 per cent year-on-year, having sold 50,000 cars last year, the highest figure for 28 years.
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