Fancy ordering a new car from the comfort of your own living room? DS, the luxury arm of Peugeot-Citroen, is planning to let you do just that
DS, the premium sub-brand of PSA Peugeot-Citroen, is to experiment with different ways of selling its cars by allowing customers to try them out in shopping centres and even order them online, a senior official has told the Telegraph Cars.
Arnaud Leclerc, the brand development director for DS UK, said that one of his key aims is to reach out to new customers who might prefer new options for car buying, rather than traditional car dealerships.
“We need to find new ways to get in touch with our customers,” he said. “For many people, the traditional business model doesn’t work.
“Customers sometimes feel intimidated by car showrooms, and for those customers we think we can offer something different.
“E-commerce is an area which is very attractive to us because customers often order luxury products online without even touching or trying them. The customer can pick and choose their specification, their colours and their personalisation without having to leave their home.”
Leclerc admitted, however, that many car buyers will not want to put down their hard-earned cash without trying a car first, which is where the proposed DS stores in shopping centres will come in.
“We still need to have a way to touch the product and maybe even test it for our customers, as some will want to do this,” he said. “For this, I hope we will establish outlets in new places like shopping centres.”
Neither idea is entirely new, however. Major shopping centres are increasingly being seen as valuable, high-footfall places for car manufacturers to show off their products to customers who wouldn’t normally get to see them. Both Infiniti and Hyundai have already opened stores in major shopping centres in and around London.
As for ordering new cars online, Vauxhall offered buyers the option for a period in the early 2000s, with several “.com” special editions being made available exclusively via the company’s website.
Both schemes will break new ground for PSA Peugeot-Citroën, however, and Leclerc thinks that he sees the UK is the ideal place to trial the new approach.
“British people are very open minded,” he said. “They are keen to embrace new ways of doing things. And of course, in the UK, everyone is very busy, so time is money.”
Leclerc was speaking at the launch of the new DS 4, the car with which the company hopes to take on the new BMW 1-series and Audi A3. The new model will be available to order in the UK – in showrooms only, for the time being – from November.
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