Ford offers online car shopping in the UK
Ford has taken a big first step for the future of car shopping. Experts say now that Ford has developed online shopping, other companies will soon follow suit.
Fifty dealers in the United Kingdom will begin selling new and used cars on the Internet from June 29, even if it means they can’t take the vehicle for a test drive.
Every Ford model, including the Ka, Focus, Mondeo, and the Galaxy will be available and customers will be able to purchase their cars over email. Buyers can contact a new call-center to make an order. It’ll be like calling for a pizza.
Online shoppers will even be able to haggle for a price just like they do at an actual dealership.
The new car will be delivered by FordOnline.co.uk to one of 12 delivery centers where customers will be able to see the car in the flesh for the first time. They will get a chance to inspect it, look at it, and sign the final document.
"Consumers are now ready to fully use the Internet in the car industry," said Steve Hood, managing director of FordOnline.co.uk to The Telegraph.
"In the past, many customers have used the Internet for gathering information and then visited dealerships for advice and test drives.
"Whilst many customers still continue to do this, we are now witnessing a significant proportion of internet customers that both know the car they want and are prepared to buy it direct if the internet retailer is credible.
"It shows that consumers are now ready to fully use the Internet in the car industry."
While some shopping can be done online, around 550 dealers will continue on as normal, selling cars in the flesh to real people at the same price as online dealers.
"This is an important turning point; other manufacturers will have to find similarly innovative ways to compete," said Dr Peter Wells to The Telegraph, of the Centre for Automotive Industry Research, Cardiff.
"Operationally it makes sense to hold stock centrally and get it out to the consumer but this does risk losing some contact with the customer. There is still a future for the dealer, even if they are finding it tough at the moment."
Last year, Ford sold 372,000 new cars in the UK, taking the largest market share in the country.
Source: The Telegraph