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Solo test drive scheme becomes Volvo fixture

Volvo is giving potential customers the opportunity to test drive its cars without a salesman being present – before, during or after the appraisal.

A fleet of 15 cars, covering the entire Volvo range, will be available at a succession of country hotel venues every weekend until the end of June.

After a successful pilot study started in November 2004, Volvo is hoping the events, called ‘Freedom Test Drive’, will become a permanent part of its marketing programme.

Visitors to the company’s website, and existing customers via email, are invited to register for the events on-line or by telephone. Only test drives in the high performance V70 R are accompanied.

At least two 45-minute test drives are available to customers at each event where staff are on hand to supply information and take down referral details, but customers cannot buy a car.

“It’s a chance for us to reach customers earlier in the buying process, when maybe they aren’t ready to go to a dealer,” says Volvo marketing manager, Paul Walder.

“It introduces another layer in the buying process and reflects the changing way people are buying products these days.”

He says Freedom Test Drive will augment rather than replace traditional dealer sales methods.

Volvo’s research suggests some customers do not like visiting dealerships and that even if they do, it is often not possible for them to try a variety of cars.

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