Volvo eyes electric future with switch to online-only purchase model
Volvo has confirmed all its future electric car ranges will be available to buy exclusively through online channels, as the Swedish car giant plots a course to become an electric-only brand by 2030.
According to Volvo, the new commercial strategy will see the car marque invest heavily in its online sales channels, radically reduce complexity in its product offer, and provide transparent and set pricing models.
The company’s subscription service, Care by Volvo, will be expanded into a broader customer offer aimed at increasing confidence in the brand and its products. Cars bought online will come with a package that includes servicing, warranty, roadside assistance, home charging options and, where available, insurance.
The move sees the brand take a more radical approach than rivals such as Kia and BMW, which while promising increased investment in online sales channels have held back from taking all sales away from traditional dealers.
Meet the car brands shifting gear as buyers go digital
Volvo has its sights firmly set on the premium electric vehicle sector, a market in which it aims to become a leader.
“The future of Volvo Cars is defined by three pillars: electric, online and growth,” says Volvo head of global commercial operations, Lex Kerssemakers.
“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. Simplification and convenience are key to everything we do.”
While the strategy sidelines traditional car dealerships from the sales process, Volvo claims it will strengthen relationships with these retail partners for the service, preparation and delivery of cars.
“Online and offline need to be fully and seamlessly integrated,” adds Kerssemakers. “Wherever the customer is in their journey – online, in a showroom, in a Volvo Studio or driving the car – the customer experience needs to be top-notch.”
A wider shift
Volvo is not alone in fundamentally rethinking how it sells its cars.
German premium rivals Audi and BMW are both rethinking their sales and marketing strategies, with an increased emphasis on digital channels. Likewise, UK luxury brand Jaguar has announced that it will be ‘all electric’ by 2025.
Mainstream rivals are shifting too. Kia has changed its name – dropping the word ‘motors’ – to prioritise its electrification agenda, while French car marque Peugeot has redesigned its logo to reflect its move to electric. Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen have all gone through similar processes over the last year and a half, and are rapidly introducing electric models.
The future of Volvo Cars is defined by three pillars: electric, online and growth.
Lex Kerssemakers, Volvo
The automotive brands are racing to meet a deadline. In the UK, the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars will be banned in 2030. A ban on hybrid models, which use both electric and ICE engines, will follow in 2035.
The entire sector is set to see a massive change in the products it offers.
The upheaval of the least year, which has seen car buyers migrate online during the Covid-19 pandemic, may have helped convince brands a change in how those products are sold may not be as painful as they had feared.
These car marques are also being chased down by second hand dealers, such as Cazoo, Cinch and Heycar, all of which operate online.
When it comes to the car brands, Volvo’s switch to an online-only purchase model may be the boldest to emerge so far, but it seems likely more changes are being prepared across the board.