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Indian Automobile Industry is coming to grips with the Coronavirus Pandemic. After a turbulent 2019, this year is turning out to be a disastrous one so far with the temporary closure of production facilities and dealerships. India is currently under a nationwide lockdown till the 3rd of May, 2020. The decline in sales would continue in April once the sale reports come out next month. With no letdown in Coronavirus cases across the country, the Indian automobile manufacturers are exploring other avenues to sell their vehicles to the consumers. Various auto brands like BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Honda are adapting virtual mediums to sell their inventory. In this piece, we look at how the Coronavirus outbreak is forcing the Indian companies to reevaluate and revamp their sales strategies.
Honda Cars India has launched the “Honda from Home” digital platform. It is an online initiative for the consumers to book their favourite Honda car on the new 'Honda from Home' website. The customers can book the car while sitting securely in their home during the lockdown. Honda from home can be accessed anywhere, anytime with the Japanese automaker planning to integrate all its dealerships across the country. The potential buyers can surf through the different vehicle options and proceed to book by selecting the dealership. The booking process is quite simple and straightforward, you have to simply login into the Honda Cars India website. Select the vehicle and choose the variant, fuel type, transmission and paint scheme. Find the nearest dealership to you, share the personal details and pay the booking amount. Once the payment is done, e-mail and SMS will be sent to confirm the booking. The dealership will contact the customer and work out the further documentation process and discuss payment or finance options for the purchase. Once, everything is done, Honda will deliver the car to the customer’s residence. Presently, the BS6 compliant versions of Amaze, Civic and CR-V are sold with bookings also open for the BS6 WR-V. The new 2020 WR-V crossover will be launched soon along with the Jazz and the City with BS6 engines. All launches were delayed so far due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Volkswagen India has integrated its 137 sales and 116 service touchpoints in its online booking service. From the moment, a customer shows interest in booking the vehicle to the delivery of the vehicle, everything is done virtually. For booking a Volkswagen Car or service, the customer can visit the Volkswagen India’s website and go through the various products and services on offer. All the relevant information related to the product including the pricing will be on display. Customers can fill their personal data and their requirements online for booking services. The service team will deliver the requests at the time slot finalized by customers. Pick-up and drop-off services are also there for customers who want to visit a dealership or workshop. Volkswagen ensures a secure transaction with OTP authentication by the preferred dealership.
BMW India has also opted for the virtual medium for the booking of its cars in India. Contactless Experience is a BMW program for the Indian customers to check the new models as well as used cars from the comfort of their home. Interested customers can also schedule home delivery of the booked vehicle. The buyers need to provide the delivery location and the vehicle will be delivered. The vehicle will be sanitized properly and then only handed over to the customer. A pure contactless experience will be given to the customer with even the documents handover in a sanitized envelope. A BMW representative will be available online to assist the customer in the booking process. The customers can also see the 360-degree view of BMW vehicles with the features outlined. Apart from product booking, customers can also opt for services scheduling online. They can select the date and time for services, while the vehicle will be picked up from the customer residence and delivered to the nearest BMW service station. The charges will be intimated to the customer before the process is initiated. The German automaker is accepting online payments while the serviced vehicle will be sanitized and then handed over to the customer.
The German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz has launched ‘Merc from Home’, a digital car-buying initiative, for the Indian customers to book vehicles online with vehicle delivery to their doorstep. All offers and product information will be available on the Mercedes-Benz India website. A sales concierge will remain operational from 10 am to midnight on the Indian website to help the customer in configuring their car. The product experts will help customers with additional technical information. This digital platform with full functionality will go online from May 4 including the vehicle financing and other value-added services. With the launch of the service, the company wants to keep the physical interaction as minimal as possible.
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