Volvo Leans Into Online EV Sales
Volvo is putting the pedal to the metal to accelerate an all-electric future by only producing and selling electric vehicles by 2030. The Chinese-owned Swedish automaker also recently revealed that it plans to change the way it sells cars in the United States in a big way.
Beginning in 2022, new electric Volvos such as the XC40 Recharge and other electric models to come, will only be sold online. The brand plans to transition to a unique purchase process that hopes to eliminate haggling with “transparent and set pricing.”
Following a press announcement about the XC40 Recharge, Volvo Cars of North America CEO Anders Gustafsson talked about the safety-conscious brand’s online sales strategy saying, “This is something we know the customers are asking for.”
The Road Ahead
To kick start the program, Volvo sales of the new C40 and XC40 Recharge next year will be available through an online process. According to Gustafsson, the actual order and payment process may be switched to a single website. You will also be able to buy a new Volvo EV right from your smartphone. “Dealers will carry a very, very small inventory of new vehicles, and there will be a very short delivery timeline for everything in the U.S.”
Fewer trim levels and colors will be available to further streamline the online buying process. While browsing the choices on the website, you will be able to pick from “attractive pre-configured electric Volvos that are ready for simple and convenient ordering and quick delivery,” according to Gustafsson. While there will be fewer new Volvos in dealerships, additional cars will be available at nearby depots ready for quick shipment when orders come in.
This will require substantial restructuring in the way the automaker stocks, delivers and moves its cars, says the CEO. Similar to Tesla’s strategy of fewer build combinations and a simplified buying process, Volvo’s U.S. dealers will begin to resemble the “no pressure” European model of auto sales that has been popular for years.
New Volvo "Spaces"
In fact, the new sales model more closely resembles Volvo’s electric car partner Polestar. The luxury EV vehicles will also debut in America next year and present and entirely new form of reimagined dealerships that they call “Spaces.” These unique demonstration and presentation Spaces are more like refined art museums to showcase a gallery of rolling art in the form of its innovative cars. Polestar has reimagined the world of personal transportation in an elegant, forward-thinking manner. Knowledgeable salespeople will be on hand to answer questions and give test drives while the customer will be left to do all the choosing and decision making. Volvo owns 50 percent of Polestar and some Volvo dealerships will share “Spaces” with Polestar.
Volvo will also expand its Care by Volvo package to include such amenities as roadside assistance, ongoing maintenance, home charging, and car insurance to support every aspect of its EV line. The subscription-style care experience hopes to foster an eco-friendly lifestyle for customers inside its dealerships and online.
There is no doubt that auto retail models are changing. Driven by public demand, new technology and zero-emission vehicles are leading the way to create an entirely new car buying experience.