Should we be putting the car salesman on the world’s most endangered list? Well, maybe not just yet, but if you push iron for Volvo, you might just want to update your LinkedIn profile.
Earlier this week, on the same day it revealed its newest electric vehicle, the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge, the Swedish automaker announced its EVs will be sold online only.
The C40 Recharge is expected to arrive in Canada in the spring of 2022; while the XC40 Recharge is available now. The company plans to be a fully electric car company by 2030.
“The future of Volvo Cars is defined by three pillars: electric, online, and growth,” head of global commercial operations Lex Kerssemakers stated in a press release announcing the new sales strategy. “We want to offer our customers peace of mind and a care-free way of having a Volvo, by taking away complexity while getting and driving the car.”
So, instead of heading out to a bricks-and-mortar dealership to kick some low-resistance tires, prospective Volvo EV buyers will simply log onto volvocars.com. There, they’ll find what the company refers to as a “radically reduced complexity of product offerings.” Customers will be able to choose from pre-configured electric Volvos that are ready for ordering and quick delivery. The release notes that “further convenience and simplification comes through transparent and set pricing models. This eliminates the need for negotiations, increases transparency, and builds trust.”
Does this mean that we have reached “peak dealership”?
Not necessarily. The press release notes the company is committed to working with its retail partners to build stronger customer relationships, adding that dealerships “remain a crucial part of the customer experience and will continue to be responsible for a variety of important services such as selling, preparing, delivering and servicing cars.”
According to the president of the B.C. New Car Dealership Association, Volvo’s announcement is just part of an ongoing change to the way vehicle-sellers are doing business.
“Automobile manufacturers and retail dealerships are constantly assessing and refining how best to meet the evolving needs of customers,” said Blair Qualey. “With respect to Volvo, the OEM has clarified its strategy in Canada, emphasizing the essential role those physical dealerships will continue to have for consumers.”
Qualey noted a number of automakers have increased the emphasis on digital tools and processes to make the shopping and buying experience as convenient as possible.
In the case of Volvo, that includes something called Care by Volvo, which replaces and expands upon the current Volvo Cars’ subscription service. All Volvo EVs purchased online will come with a care package that includes service, warranty, roadside assistance, as well as insurance where available and home charging options.