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Car Buying At A Click?

3 min read
Your dream car could appear before your eyes as soon as you specify your preferences at the car showroom of the near future. Find out how the Internet of Things is transforming car showrooms here and around the world.

The digital market is rapidly ingraining itself into our lives and our consumption habits. So it’s only a matter of time before the convenience of home shopping applies to the car market.

We may think a car buyer isn’t a typical online shopper. A car is, after all, a big-ticket item that costs upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. But car manufacturers and distributors today are pulling out all the stops to make the virtual car-shopping experience a positive and interactive one for the potential buyer.

Online tools
The online car community is an important aspect of the car buying experience. Most shoppers do their research before buying; for something as expensive as a car, online research is paramount for many before they actually step into a showroom. There are many avenues for up-to-date information — from forums for buyer reviews and updates to YouTube videos by professional car reviewers, as well as articles on the latest car models, options and news.

Manufacturers such as Toyota, BMW and Audi already have online showrooms that introduce their range of cars with prices in Singapore dollars. Toyota’s website provides tools such as a loan calculator and a colour selector, while interested parties can also book a test drive. The websites of premium brands BMW and Audi even allow you to configure your dream car online with the many options available.

Click to purchase
Hyundai Motor Company and Komoco Motors in Singapore have upped the ante by rolling out a platform that literally allows you to buy a car online. Introduced in November 2018, it is touted as Singapore’s first such online retail platform for cars. It takes a prospective customer through the entire process of selecting and configuring their desired car from the company’s fleet, offering a one-stop option that even includes vehicle registration, insurance and COE bidding! Online consultants are also on hand to assist the buyer should he need backup. Avid online shoppers who love a good bargain will definitely be drawn to the site’s online-only special deals.

Virtual showrooms
For some, nothing beats seeing a physical car, opening the doors, and discovering just how cushy the seats are. With car showrooms gradually offering the option of Virtual Reality (VR) technology, potential car buyers can get as close to the real thing as technologically possible. They can experience 360-degree views and virtually walk around a car and ‘see’ the car’s exterior and interior features. While the ‘touch’ aspect is not there yet, anything is possible in the future.

In fact, Rolls Royce Singapore has tapped on the expertise of Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Interactive and Digital Media to work on offering customers a new immersive experience in its Bespoke section. Donning VR headsets, customers can experience Rolls Royce’s customisation options to view how they look on an actual car. The company is looking to add interactive features in the future to make the experience even more real.

The idea of a car showroom with VR is becoming popular as more car dealerships, such as those for Audi and Volvo, explore new ways to elevate the customer experience. With virtual showrooms, which have no limits on space, the potential buyer can experience all the latest models, including those that are yet to be launched. Imagine being able to ‘see’ a car that recently premiered at the Geneva Motor Show — that could be a reality for car shoppers in the future.