Volkswagen is ramping up its digitalization efforts with the launch of online leasing for freely configurable electric vehicles in Germany.
For now, the service is only available for customers who want to lease new Volkswagen vehicles online in Germany, but the automaker plans to gradually expand it to include cash purchase and financing options that can be concluded online. In addition, VW will roll out online sales successively to other European countries.
At the start of the program, customers can lease online only the all-electric Volkswagen ID.4 and ID.5 crossovers, with the ID.3 hatchback to be added later.
“This marks a key step in digitalizing our sales as part of our ACCELERATE strategy. We are one of the first major automotive manufacturers to offer complete online leasing of freely configurable vehicles.”
Klaus Zellmer, member of the Volkswagen Brand Board of Management responsible for Sales, Marketing and After Sales
VW ID.4 GTX, ID.4, ID.3, ID.5, and ID.5 GTX
Zellmer, who will take over as Skoda CEO from July 1, 2022, added that surveys have shown that around two-thirds of VW customers want to be able to purchase vehicles online.
Volkswagen says the customer experience is “complete and seamless,” from vehicle configuration, definition of the leasing options, to digital authentication and conclusion of an agreement. Buyers can conclude a leasing agreement for a VW electric vehicle using a PC, tablet or smartphone.
That said, launching online sales does not mean Volkswagen will give up on its dealers, Zellmer pointed out. Dealers will still be integrated very closely in the online business model organizationally and financially and will also remain an important point of customer contact for advice, test drives, right up to delivery and service. This suggests VW does not plan to deliver vehicles at the customer’s doorstep—something Tesla and some EV startups do.
“Online sales will not replace the brick-and-mortar dealership. We need a good online presence coupled with a strong and powerful local presence provided by our dealers. Dealers are and will remain the face to our customers. They are indispensable when it comes to providing personal, competent advice.”
German Volkswagen dealers have been offering new and used cars for purchase on the volkwagen.de website since the end of 2021.