Buying cars online: Top automobile brands in UAE accelerate digital push

60% of users prefer to purchase their car online than visit a physical showroom.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Hands typing on laptop computer.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Hands typing on laptop computer.

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Amid the new trend towards online purchases since the coronavirus pandemic began, car dealers in the UAE are investing in online purchase platforms to win back sales lost to the lockdown restrictions. Dealers are now offering potential customers video tours of cars as well as the option to book a pick-up and drop-off service for home test drives.

UAE car classifieds site YallaMotor recently revealed that 60 per cent of users prefer to purchase their car online than visit a physical showroom.

Online car buying is still new to the GCC, and there’s little indication that consumers want to give up the personal advice of the car dealer or the experience of physically examining their next purchase. Nor are they keen on the online paperwork required. So why are dealers gearing up to go online?

Apart from the current concerns about the pandemic, purchasing online grants customers access to offers in the comfort of their homes as well as reduced paperwork. Together, these pluses could create an uptick that continues even after the lockdown. 

“If car buyers can access more information about the car and the dealer provides test drives at home, they are willing to go online and purchase that vehicle,” Jorge Bialade, General Manager of YallaMotor, told Zawya.

Top brands going online

Al-Futtaim Automotive Group, the dealer of Toyota, Lexus, Honda and Volvo cars in the UAE, has digitised its sales process. Online sales options are available for all the brands on their respective websites.

“Across all brands, we have revamped our digital platforms, where customers can not only browse our available stock for new and used cars, but also proceed with partial online payments, enjoy video product walk-around, conduct live chats with our engagement centre and even book a pick up and drop off service for test drive,” an Al-Futtaim Automotive Group spokesperson told Zawya.

Trading Enterprise, a company within Al-Futtaim Group that sells Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and RAM models, is also offering online sales and other digital support on its website. “We are a market first for Volvo with online sales available outside of the current subscription service offered globally,” the Al-Futtaim spokesperson added.

AGMC, the official BMW importer for Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates, has launched separate digital showrooms for customers to buy or lease BMW and MINI models. Customers can reserve, book, make a down-payment, or pay in full for a car of their choice and book a test drive from their home or office. They can also apply for finance and submit necessary documentation online.

Audi Middle East told Zawya that it is currently setting up e-commerce sites for its dealers, Al Nabooda Automobiles in Dubai and Ali & Sons in Abu Dhabi. They will be online soon for customers to browse and purchase Audi cars in the UAE.

Shift to affordable brands, used cars

The YallaMotor survey revealed that buyers are now adopting a wait-and-see approach.

“Before COVID-19, most of them were making their decision in less than a month. Now, they will be making the decision of purchasing a vehicle in about three months,” Bialade said.

Due to economic uncertainty, consumers are more likely to consider affordable options or second-hand cars.

Almost seven out of ten car users intend to buy a second-hand car, two out of ten want a new car and one customer out of 10 will consider a certi?ed pre-owned vehicle, according to the survey.

Automobile marketplace Dubizzle Pro said customers could be more aligned towards buying a used car than a brand new one, during these challenging times. 

“A car that is under two years old will most likely have a valid warranty and a service contract; and can be purchased up to 50 percent less than when new,” said Matthew Davidson, Head of Dubizzle Pro.

“Buying a second-hand automobile also comes with other benefits such as lower insurance costs, a lower depreciation rate, and for those who are looking to finance the purchase, a lower monthly instalment payment,” he added.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Al-Futtaim Automall, a certified used car dealer, told Zawya: “In difficult and uncertain times such as these, people tend to buy more affordable cars to limit their investment. We have revamped our online buying platform to support easier digital transactions and home-based test drives.”

(Writing by Disha N, editing by Seban Scaria)

#Automobile #UAE #Online #Retail

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© ZAWYA 2020

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