Skoda will launch an online retail channel for sales of its new cars in 2019 in a bid to offer wider range of purchasing options to car buyers.
The Czech brand could be the first Volkswagen Group manufacturer to offer a new car online retail platform when it follow-up its venture into online “Virtual Tours” with the introduction of the direct sales channel next year.
Alain Favey, Skoda’s board member for sales and marketing, revealed the plan in an interview with Autocar magazine, but the publication said that he remained unconvinced that many people want to buy car virtually.
“It’s important that we offer the possibility, but many people still want a personal experience in the dealership,” he said.
Despite his reservations, Favey predicted that up to 10% of car buyers will purchase online by 2025.
In an interview with AM earlier this year Skoda UK head of sales operations, John French, revealed details of the success of the brand’s online virtual tour platform, which was based at the brand’s UK headquarters in Milton Keynes.
Speaking in April, French said that the brand had delivered over 2,000 hours of product demonstrations through its Skoda Live Tour digital showroom offering in its first year.
He said that 75% of Live Tour users are new to the brand, 38% have gone on to book a test drive and 10% have converted to a sale, adding: “The Live Tour helps puts ŠKODA on their shortlist and it is then our retailers who pick up with the customer and provide an exceptional experience when they visit the showroom.
“The Live Tour can physically support just a proportion of our range so will continue to underpin and supplement the great work of our retailers.”