As impressive as the Proton X70’s connected infotainment system may be, the introduction of online booking for its new SUV is perhaps the more eye-opening initiative. It is a sphere where no mainstream brand has ventured into, save for a handful of limited-edition online sales campaigns undertaken by MINI and Volkswagen.
Through sheer coincidence and just a day before Proton made online booking available for the X70, Volkswagen AG announced a programme to ‘fundamentally realign its sales model’ together with its dealers in Europe beginning April 2020. According to Volkswagen, the car-buying experience will change with online sales to be massively expanded and direct sales to become a possibility. Five new sales and service formats such as city showrooms or pop up stores will also be introduced, with the role of dealerships to become more flexible and efficient.
While certain ‘analogue experiences’ can never be replicated digitally; such as that of a test drive, new car delivery, or kicking tyres and slamming car doors for no good reason, other sales processes such as loan application and the purchase of insurance can already be done online. For sure, there will be resistance as the act of selling cars is as old as the car itself (125 years and counting), but don’t bet against purchasing your next new car on the device you’re reading this article on.