Last week, Torque News showed you how Nissan is becoming like Maserati with its technology initiative pushing towards completely customized vehicles as part of the buyer's experience. This logically would lead to online purchasing, of course, as the cars are customized in virtual reality and ordered via the Internet for delivery through a local Nissan dealership, which would become a delivery and service center rather than focusing on its sales floor.
Well, that prediction is now reality.
Nissan of India has launched a website to sell cars via the Internet as part of a new strategy to attract youthful buyers and more business to counter that nation's market slump in automotive. The entire Nissan product lineup being sold in India is now offered online with the purchased cars being delivered through the nearest local Nissan dealership to the buyer.
“Customers will be able to book their cars by making payments through an online gateway by credit card. The car will then be delivered to the customer by their nearest Nissan dealership when ready." So says the press announcement. The whole setup is being done through Hover Automotive India, one of the largest dealership networks in the country. Nissan worked with Hover on the website design and deployment, but the actual purchasing and delivery process is being handled by Hover in order to maintain a legal "hands off" to avoid the legalities of direct sales from manufacturer to the public, which is often either illegal or legally tenuous in many districts and nations. Just ask Tesla here in the U.S.
Nissan has said that the revived Datsun brand, set to enter the Indian market soon, would not be included in this deal with Hover. The brand will be used as the lower-cost version of Nissan's automotive model lineup for the country. The entry-level market in India is hotly contested, dominated by companies like Tata and Maruti.
History is being made in India, however, and this is a harbinger of what will be coming to auto sales worldwide in the very near future. We're already very close to that with most configurators and automotive manufacturers' websites forwarding orders to dealerships. Adding in the step of making a down payment and securing financing to the Web is not much of a leap from there.