Subaru has extended its virtual showroom to include the Subaru Impreza small hatch and sedan, building on the experience gained from selling the in-demand Subaru BRZ sports coupe and WRX hot sedan via the internet.
It’s believed to be the first time a manufacturer has offered sales of a mainstream model via its website.
Other carmakers have tried: compact city runabout brand Smart moved its entire showroom online before it disappeared into the ether, while California-based electric carmaker Tesla kicked off its Australian market push using nothing but a website.
“The online model provides an even bigger opportunity for us to reach a new tech-savvy audience,” Subaru Australia managing director Colin Christie said.
“The experience of buying online must be something we offer to our customers as we evolve around the digital world,” he said. “Build and Buy online ensures we stay ahead of the curve.”
Details are scant on how Subaru Impreza buyers will take delivery of their new car when ordering via the website. However, BRZ and Subaru WRX customers still have to visit a traditional bricks-and-mortar showroom to pick up their new ride – with nothing expected to change for Impreza customers.
Several years ago, Mercedes-Benz toyed with the idea of allowing customers to select a car online, and even have it delivered to their driveway without needing to visit a car dealership. It also used the bits-and-bytes Smart showroom as a test-bed to see if the virtual showroom concept could expand to Benz-badged models.
“People are time-poor, so for them (buying online) is an easy transaction,” Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman David McCarthy said at the time. “For us, we wanted to test the platform – we’ve been working on it for a very long time.”
Despite the upbeat talk at the time, it is yet to sell a new Benz-badged car online.