Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2011 Ford Fiesta 'unwraps' itself for new buyers. http://goo.gl/BSDh

{jacquelyn jablonski, v magazine}

{images: editorial - a woman in full; jacquelyn jablonski by willy vanderperre for v magazine, styling by olivier rizzo via smile}

Ford moves online to sell cars

Ford, the UK's largest automobile retailer, is set to become the first British manufacturer to sell its vehicles over the net, in yet another blow to recession-hit automobile dealerships.

All of the manufacturer's models - including commercial vehicles and used cars - will this week become available to buy online from 50 Ford-owned dealerships.

Although 550 independent dealers will carryover on selling Ford cars as usual, specialists think the move to online sales will signal a revolution in automobile retail as other companies scramble to do likewise.

"This is an important turning point," said Dr Peter Wells of the Centre for Automotive Industry Research, Cardiff, speaking to The Telegraph.

"Operationally it makes sense to hold stock centrally and get it out to the consumer but this does risk losing some contact with the customer. There is still a future for the dealer, even in the event that they are finding it hard at the moment."

One time a driver has browsed online and selected a model, they must complete their purchase by e-mail or over the phone to a new call-centre. FordOnline.co.uk will then deliver their vehicle to one of 12 centres nationwide, where consumers will be able to examine their purchase before finishing the final paperwork.

Prices will be the same as those offered to showroom customers, and potential online buyers will be able to haggle like those who try to strike a deal in person with a salesman.

Ford's move to online sales came after the manufacturer's own research revealed very two in ten buyers now require to buy their next automobile on the net - even if it meant not taking their new automobile for a check drive.

"Consumers are now prepared to fully use the net in the automobile industry," said Steve Hood, managing director of FordOnline.co.uk.

"In the past, lots of customers have used the net for gathering information and then visited dealerships for advice and check drives.

"Whilst lots of customers still continue to do this, they are now witnessing a significant proportion of net customers that both know the automobile they require and are prepared to buy it direct if the net retailer is credible."


{definitely golden via unstitched}