VW has launched an online leasing programme for electric cars in Germany. At the launch, the all-electric models ID.4 and ID.5 are on offer. The ID.3 will follow at a later date.
These are freely configurable vehicles, as Volkswagen emphasises. Online leasing is not VW’s first online sales model: since the end of 2021, German Volkswagen dealers have been offering their immediately available new and used stock vehicles for sale – hence the emphasis now on freely configurable vehicles.
The offer is to be rolled out successively in other European countries Later, online leasing is to be expanded to include cash purchase and financing options. VW does not specify a timetable for this. The strengthening of online sales is part of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand’s “Accelerate” strategy.
“We are one of the first major automotive manufacturers to offer complete online leasing of freely configurable vehicles,” says outgoing board member for sales Klaus Zellmer, who will become head of Skoda in the summer. “Surveys show that around two-thirds of our customers also want to be able to purchase our vehicles online. We’re now addressing that wish. Our mission is to give our customers an excellent offering and buying experience both at dealerships and online. As a result, we’ll also strengthen our competitiveness lastingly.”
The fact that the offer only includes MEB models is not a coincidence: the distribution of these vehicles runs via the so-called agency model, i.e. VW is the direct contractual partner of the end customer. Such online direct sales by the manufacturer are usually viewed critically by dealers. According to the VW statement, dealers “continue to be closely involved in the online business model, both organisationally and financially, and also remain an important point of contact for customers, from advice and test drives to delivery and service”.
The e-Up, on the other hand, is no longer part of the electric online offer. The small electric car had been available for order again since mid-February, but is now almost sold out again. According to information from Automobilwoche, the first dealers have already had to turn away interested customers. “Demand for the e-Up is very good,” a VW spokesperson confirmed. “Dealers have stocked up very quickly.” The contingent of freely configurable vehicles earmarked for Germany at the Bratislava plant had already been exhausted in March. However, pre-configured vehicles are still available, but the customer cannot customise the extras.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.
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