Fairy tales do not exist!

The past few days, I’ve been a few wisdoms further. A number of brand directors of new Chinese brands, but also of established brands, believe in fairy tales. The fairy tale that, after only 25 years of existence online, is suddenly a panacea! A powerful tool that suddenly presents itself as a tool with which you can sell cars. Those brand directors will sell their new cars via an online order button, without the intervention of dealers. Sorry, I must say without agents, investors or delivery centers they are going to deliver directly to the end consumer. Because yes, Tesla does it too!

Now I am not at all against online sales, on the contrary. In 2001 we at SsangYong Apeldoorn had a website with an order button. You could order a new SsangYong online. I even have a video of it from 2006, when we already had a few years of experience with online buying. That video was a commercial, broadcast on Dutch television, that we made together with importer Kroymans.

Selling cars online has been around for years

Buying cars online already worked back then, but it took a lot of time. You also had to convince the online customer to do business with you. You still had to sell the car. We used text messages, e-mails and telephone calls for follow-up. Logical, that was using your common sense.

Later we sold new cars of all brands online with That also did not happen automatically. We really had to sell most of the cars. We made several phone calls (via VOIP though, so it was online) and sent many emails. Anyway, we sold new cars online. So the theory is correct, you can sell cars online.

“The theory is correct, you can sell cars online.”

When started working with ANWB Autokoopservice, we sold more than 150 new cars per month. All online. Here too: no deal went smoothly, we just needed good salespeople on the phone and via email to give that final push. We used the website to connect with potential customers at scale and sell from there. to Marktplaats

After the acquisition of by Marktplaats, you saw the same thing happen at Marktplaats. At Marktplaats we sell hundreds of cars online every day. And by we I mean the advertisers, the dealers, the independent car companies that have cars on Marktplaats. The potential customer raises his virtual hand, has online contact via the Marktplaats Messaging App and makes the deal. On Saturday the car is paid for and picked up at the location or delivered to location. The payment may not be made with IDEAL, but an online sale has many guises.

Back to the beginning. A number of importers think things should change: now is the time to sell the cars online. And it can. I remember when Volvo came out with the XC90 Hybrid, when that model fell into the 7% addition category. The car could only be reserved online, and yes, the batch sold out quickly online.

A fax machine would have worked too!

But if Volvo had said you could only make reservations through the fax machine, would they also have sold the Hybrids? The answer is yes. The product in combination with the addition was so good that even the CTA ‘we only accept orders by e-mail’ had also worked. The same goes for Tesla. Are they all bought online, or are they ordered online?

Look, it is possible to sell cars via the internet, but it is not a linear process. There, too, you need customer contact and test drives to make the deal. The IDEAL payment is not sacrosanct, the contact with the customer, by direct messaging, telephone, physical or by any means, is necessary to complete the deal. And times with corona and high demand and little supply, you should not see as the normal market.

Based on data from the past two years, you can’t say that you suddenly don’t need dealers and sales people anymore. The Internet is not a panacea, it is a means of connecting with customers at scale. A resource that has been around for 25 years, but still needs a good online seller!

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