A lot has already been bought on the Internet. When trading in new cars, however, the path usually leads to the dealership. If that has changed slowly so far, Corona could accelerate the change.
Berlin (dpa / tmn) - While online trade is booming in all industries, car buying is still mostly analog, says Hans-Georg Marmit of the expert organization KÜS.
Is Corona Accelerating Change?
However, the change is also breaking out here and the radical cuts during the Corona crisis should accelerate this development. In times when the car dealerships are closed for health reasons, the search for new sales channels is becoming more urgent: "It is now all the more important to expand digital offers even further and to pull out all the stops," says Thomas Peckruhn, Vice President of the German Central Association Motor vehicle industry (ZDK).
New brands such as Byton, Nio or Lynk & Co in particular are planning innovative sales models with virtual showrooms and contracts on the Internet. With regard to their dealers and the complicated contractual relationships, the established manufacturers are usually still more cautious. New cars are often offered on the websites of Porsche & Co, and there is intensive and innovative advice in chats and video conferences, but before the purchase is made you end up at the local brand dealer again. "It remains the last resort for us," said Jürgen Keller, head of Hyundai Germany, when opening the first online showroom, in which eight consultants present new vehicles every day.
Many providers are already active
Even if the conclusion is analogous, the path of car buyers usually leads online first, says Arthur Kipferler from strategy consultancy Berylls in Munich: "Almost every car purchased has long been researched in advance on the Internet. However, every eighth car is now used Germany bought online, and the trend is rising. I wouldn't call it a boom yet, but the digital sales channel is definitely gaining in importance, "observed the expert. More and more online companies in Germany want to take advantage of this fact, says Kipferler and reports from 16 providers such as CarWow, Autohaus24.de or MeinAuto.de, which fill this gap. Nine currently only sold new cars, the others could also get used cars.
The discounts are often 20 percent
Buying there is very easy and transparent, says automotive scientist Ferdinand Dudenhöffer from the University of Sankt Gallen: The customer uses the configurator on the website and puts together his own vehicle, while receiving all the information on discounts, explains Dudenhöffer. The agent lands the order with the brand dealer, who sends the customer his purchase contract and, after signing and paying, will deliver the vehicle, including documents and registration. The customer can save a lot, says Dudenhöffer, who compares the prices on a monthly basis: "The discounts for the 30 best-selling new cars via internet brokers are currently 20 percent."
In addition to the many newcomers, according to Berylls-Mann Kipferler, established dealers also play a role. Because many of them already offer forms of online sales. Customers could use the Internet to find out more about warehouse vehicles, models with day registrations and young used vehicles and leasing returns. In many cases, for example, negotiations with the seller followed by email. "So if you need a car and don't want to go to the dealership, even without the new platforms, you'll find a way to shop at a conventional dealer without physical contact."
This should be reinforced with Corona and the forced closings: In the current situation, most salespeople work from home anyway and endeavor to answer every request very quickly, according to Kipferler.
There are also pitfalls
Marmit warns of hidden fees and pitfalls: "Online platforms are brokers, not traders. If the trader succeeds, the platform pays the services via a commission. If the customer receives an invoice, the rule is:" Rip off and therefore hands off! " This also works retrospectively, says Marmit: "As with all digital or electronic transactions, you can withdraw from the contract for up to 14 days."