Volvo fans may have to stay put for most of the auto shows next year, as Volvo Car Corp. plans to skip on most of the car events in 2015 to focus more on its online marketing strategy.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Volvo’s sales and marketing chief Alain Visser said they would only be present in three auto shows next year–Detroit, Geneva and Beijing–as they will be allocating their time and funds in sharpening their website and social media presence. This step only means that Volvo will be missing out on hundreds of auto shows around the world that most automakers participate in each year to showcase their concepts and newest vehicles.
Visser did not go to specifics about its online sales strategy, but promises their efforts will not bypass current dealers. He also noted the vehicles that are sold online will still get into the seller network for delivery, and that they have no plans to set up a car distribution network without dealers.
By focusing more on its online marketing strategy, the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker is entering in a territory that many of its rivals have already started investing in. For instance, Tesla has been one of the first automakers to directly sell its vehicles to customers online, while General Motors is known for its Shop-Click-Drive online service, which is now being implemented by 1,717 of its 4,300 dealerships (40%) in the United States.
Visser understands that reinforcing their online presence may not bode well on some of their dealers and may not be smooth sailing and may even lead to mistakes. However, he told the Wall Street Journal that they are open to committing mistakes as this will allow them to learn along the way. He also hopes that their decision to beef up their online presence will increase the number of customers visiting their dealerships, which they also plan to renovate so as to portray the brand’s Scandinavian heritage.
Volvo began testing its new online marketing strategy earlier this year, letting customers reserve the first 1,927 units of its new XC90 crossover. So far, the new sales method is promising, as all units were claimed within 48 hours.
As for launching new vehicles, Visser noted that their company will be holding their own events. One example of which is the unveiling of its 2016 XC90 in Stockholm art museum.