The Indian automobile industry has been among the worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The month of April saw negligible cars or bikes being sold in the country and even after the lockdown lifts factors like social distancing could dissuade the buyers from going to automobile showrooms. The manufacturers are devising new ways to attract consumer attention and well sell some vehicles and one of the ways to do that is use the virtual world and take car sales online. Here’s how some of the leading automakers are using the internet to adjust to the new normal.

The German luxury-maker has come out with a new online platform to sell new and used cars called ‘Merc from Home’. Buyers can order online and get home delivery of the car they have purchased. The company is promising full transparency to the customers by showing on-road prices of vehicles along with available offers. An industry-first consultation studio has been launched for customized and interactive e-demonstration of products. The ‘Online Sales Concierge’ is operational from 10 am to 12 am midnight and will come into full force when the lockdown is lifted.

Last month BMW, the biggest rivals of Mercedes-Benz in India introduced a contactless experience which is designed to take customers through the range of company products and services virtually. Customers can personalise their preferred BMW and have their queries on product, service packages and finance options addressed in real-time by interacting with a dealer representative online. They can also get a 360-degree view of vehicle exterior, interior and discuss other features. Vehicle brochures, specification details and other documents are shared online avoiding any physical contact. Once bought a fully sanitised vehicle will be delivered to the buyer. The BMW Contactless Experience can also assist consumers to explore and buy a pre-owned vehicle from the company.

‘Honda from Home’ platform means the Japanese car company is too letting customers manage their car purchase from the comfort of their homes without having to visit the dealership. The platform allows customers to browse through the product options, select their preferred dealership and proceed to book their car online. This digital booking platform offers round-the-clock access from any location and will soon integrate pan-India Honda dealerships. Once a buyer chooses a car and pays for it, a sales executive from the chosen dealership will contact him to work out further documentation and discuss finance or full payment options. Once the formalities regarding documentation and payment are done, the car will be home-delivered to the customer.

Preparing for the future, Volkswagen has integrated its 137 sales touch points as a part of online car buying process. Everything from a customer displaying interest, to a conversation with the sales consultant up till the vehicle handover process, will be conducted virtually. Here too the customers to choose their preferred dealership while booking online. To book a car one can visit Volkswagen India’s website and browse through the range of models on display, gather product details and the relevant pricing information. For a secured transaction, verification will be authenticated through an OTP generation by the preferred dealership.

The Korean car maker’s Online Sales platform has been christened ‘Click to Buy’ and incorporating over 500 dealerships nationwide. Hyundai had launched a Pilot Phase of ‘Click to Buy’ with few Dealers of Delhi NCR Region in January 2020 and has now expanded its program to offer pan India coverage. All Hyundai models including the All New Creta and New Verna can be bought on the platform. It offers the user an option of a personalised assistant during the purchase cycle of the vehicle, and customer can get in touch with the allocated sales representative at any stage during the online purchase. Buyers can decide their preferred delivery options, they can either pick the vehicle from the selected dealer or get their vehicle delivered to their doorstep.