Carmakers look to beat lockdown sales blues via online platforms

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on April 27, 2020

Customers can avail service and car care at their doorsteps   -  iSTOCK.COM

New car, anyone? There are people looking to acquire a vehicle amid the lockdown, and car companies are helping them make the purchase via online platforms.

For instance, Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL), on Monday, launched its ‘Honda from Home’ online booking platform through its corporate website. The platform allows customers to browse through the product options, select their preferred dealership and proceed to book their cars online. Designed to simplify the booking process by offering round-the-clock access from any location, the digital booking platform will soon integrate HCIL’s pan-India dealerships, said the company.

‘Honda from Home’

“Our newly introduced ‘Honda from Home’ facility offers a simplified and secure booking experience for the ever-evolving digital consumer who makes his purchase decisions online,” said Rajesh Goel, Senior Vice-President and Director, Sales and Marketing, HCIL. “This platform is part of Honda’s digitalisation efforts in car retail experience that not only drives convenience but also efficiency.”

Similarly, the country's largest luxury car maker, Mercedes-Benz India, has also launched an online platform for buying new cars. In January, it had started its online platform only for the sale of used cars.

“Now, the website is expanded to facilitate the purchase of new Mercedes-Benz cars. Customers can stay connected from home and take online appointment for booking and price estimates,” the company said.

Existing customers can also avail service and car care at their doorsteps, it said.

It added that the company is running campaigns such as ‘Merc from Home’, that aim at empowering the customer at every stage from home — explore, consult, purchase, delivery and customer service.

Going contactless

BMW India has also enabled a ‘contactless’ experience for its customers from April 2, helping them explore and buy new and pre-owned BMW cars, book vehicle service, make payments securely online and more, with the click of a button.

“As business dynamics evolve post the current Covid-19 pandemic, the BMW Contactless Experience will play a crucial role in offering seamless sales and aftersales services to our existing and new customers,” said Arlindo Teixeira, Acting President, BMW Group India.

Volkswagen India also has digitised its sales and service portfolio. It has integrated its 137 sales and 116 service touchpoints in this process, the company said.

However, how much traction these companies get for online purchases has to be seen, especially amid the lockdown.

Market leaders such as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Motor India also had launched online platforms, but not seen much traction. In any case, the customer has to go physically to pick the car up from the nearest dealer, pointed out an industry observer.

Published on April 27, 2020

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