Volvo to launch online car sales in marketing shift

Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:08am EST
 
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By Laurence Frost

PARIS (Reuters) - Volvo Car Corp said it will start selling vehicles online as it rolls out new models to compete with German luxury rivals such as BMW (BMWG.DE: Quote).

The Swedish carmaker, controlled by China's Geely, will gradually introduce web sales and spend more on digital advertising, it said as it outlined changes to its global marketing strategy on Monday.

"The plan is to have all our car lines in all our markets offered digitally," Volvo sales chief Alain Visser said in an interview.

Few manufacturers have tried selling directly online. A notable exception is Tesla (TSLA.O: Quote), whose electric car sales have cut out traditional dealers, leading to conflict and effective exclusion from parts of the United States.

But Volvo has assured its 2,000 global dealerships, half of which are in Europe, that it has no such plans.

"If you say the word e-commerce, initially dealers get nervous," Visser said.

"We don't see a car distribution network without dealers in the foreseeable future," he said, adding that vehicles sold online "will still pass through the dealer network" for delivery.

Volvo raised its 2014 sales goal in August as it launched a revamped XC90 crossover, the first vehicle developed under Zhejiang Geely Holding Group ownership.   Continued...

 
The Volvo logo is seen on a new XC60 model in a showroom near the Volvo Car Corporation Headquarters in Gothenburg May 20, 2010. REUTERS/Bob Strong