Porsche to Launch Online Vehicle Sales
With just about everything else available online with just a few clicks, buying a new car for most people is still an outdated process and a stressful one for some buyers, requiring a visit to a local dealer and dealing with often pushy salespeople or haggling over the purchase price.
Electric automaker Tesla pioneered online sales in the auto industry and now German automaker Porsche is following Tesla's lead by offering digital sales for the first time.
Porsche announced it's launching a digital sales platform starting in Germany for customers looking to purchase a new or pre-owned Porsche model from one of 88 German Porsche dealers. Although the pilot is launching in Germany, the automaker plans to expand the online portal to the rest of Europe after the initial launch in 2020.
The automaker intends to create an entire online marketplace for Porsche products and services. Customers will be able to perform the most important steps in purchasing a vehicle online, such as selecting from vehicle options or offering another vehicle to trade-in. The only thing a customer has to do in-person is show proof of identification sign the final contract at the dealership.
In addition, customers are able to reserve their vehicle and choose between purchase or leasing. They can also apply for a no-obligation leasing offers from Porsche Financial Services online. Porsche says the checkout process is supported by a secure end-to-end payment solution for a seamless experience.
Porsche customers can also use their existing payment method connected to the Porsche ID connected services platform if applicable, to pay for the vehicle reservation. The goal of the program is to make is easier for customers to buy a Porsche.
"Today, customers move between the digital world and physical retail as a matter of course – our new digital marketplace meets this need and therefore makes the experience of purchasing a vehicle even easier and more convenient. We will continue to expand our overall digital ecosystem and, in addition to vehicles, also offer Porsche-specific mobility products and services worldwide," says Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG.
At launch, 4,000 new and pre-owned vehicles at German Porsche Centers will be available to order online. The automaker said the vehicle offerings will be extended in the coming months.
The roll-out to the rest of Europe will take place after the initial launch in Germany in 2020. Porsche is also launching digital retail sales in the United States, with 25 of Porsche's 191 U.S. dealerships offering in-stock new and certified pre-owned cars through the online pilot.
However, online vehicles sales have met with some resistance in the U.S. due to laws in place designed to protect franchised dealers from vehicle manufacturers. Some states like Connecticut, block automakers, including Tesla, from selling directly to consumers.
Tesla was able to take advantage of a loophole in its home state of California that allows direct-to-consumer sales if the manufacturer isn't directly competing with a franchised dealer. Since Tesla has no dealers, the state permits sales of its electric vehicles online.
In Michigan, the birthplace of the American auto industry, electric automaker Tesla is only allowed open display showrooms and cannot sell its vehicles at them due to regulations pushed by the dealers.
It's still unclear if some Porsche dealers will take issue with the automaker offering online sales in the U.S. However, with billions of dollars spent buying goods and services online in the U.S., it makes sense that a customer shopping for a car should be able to buy one online.
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